Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Council Voted to Increase Water Deposit 186%

San Angelo City Council voted unanimously to raise the water deposit from $35 to $100 for the water meter used by 82% of its customers.  The increased deposit would only apply to new customers.  It would not impact existing users, according to city staff.

Citizens endured repeated large increases in water bills for the past decade, as rates increased multiple times and new fees were added.  Staff said the logic in charging larger deposits was to reduce deadbeat customers.  Yet, the city sends only 2.2% of its annual water revenue to collections each year.

Staff did not share that the city's water fund of $5.7 million is way over its $3.1 million budget.  Citizens funded $2.6 million or 84% more than the city planned.

Five years ago Council entertained a water rebate in its first meeting in November.  This Council nearly tripled the water deposit for most new customers.

The twisted part of the presentation involved using other aspects of the utility bill, sewer, trash and stormwater to push for the higher deposit.

Between the four operating funds the city has over $21.5 million in fund balance as of 9-30-17.  None of this was shared with City Council before it voted to raise the deposit significantly.  Fiscal year end numbers were available as they were shared with the Development Corporation on October 25th.

One has to dig to get the wider story from City Hall.  I'm not sure our current council likes to get their hands dirty.  Thanks to them new water customers will write much bigger deposit checks come January 1.

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