PSB Reviews Proposed Budget, Rates and Fees

PSB Reviews FY 2019-’20 Proposed Budget, Rates and Fees
Posted on 12/04/2018
Haskell R Street Wastewater Treatment Plant

El Paso Water staff presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2019-’20 water, wastewater and stormwater budgets to the Public Service Board (PSB) for consideration on December 3. The PSB will study the combined $436.1 million budget, which proposes no increase for stormwater fees and is a downward adjustment from last year’s projection of a 6 percent fee increase.

The budget proposes a 4 percent increase to water rates and an 8 percent increase to wastewater rates that will result in an average increase of $3 per month for the typical homeowner.

Nearly half of next year’s proposed capital improvement budget has been allocated to address aging infrastructure. Other priorities include new water infrastructure needed to support city growth and progress on new water supply projects to meet future demand. The proposed stormwater budget enables momentum on major flood control projects already underway while holding off on major new projects.

"Along with many other utilities across the country, rehabilitating our older facilities is a priority,” said EPWater President and CEO John Balliew. “Major upgrades at three of our wastewater facilities will improve performance, reliability, efficiency and odor control.”

Balliew added that leak detection along with age and vulnerability assessments have pointed to necessary proactive replacements of major water and wastewater pipelines. “It’s important to manage and replace pipelines that show signs of aging or deterioration to prevent increases in water main breaks,” he said.

The $41.4 million stormwater budget focuses on projects already underway that were funded in the 2018-’19 fiscal year, as well as maintaining the existing stormwater system.

"El Paso Water’s efforts to install new water tanks and extend service lines are instrumental for our thriving city,” said
Mayor Dee Margo.

Affordability

Even with this year’s rate increases, El Paso’s monthly water charges are the second lowest of other large Texas cities. Only Laredo’s water rates are lower, while water rates are higher in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

AguaCaresConservation remains a tool for customers looking to lower their water bills. The rate structure is designed to provide relief for low water users while charging more for high water users. Customers using less than 4 ccfs* (2,992 gallons) of water in any given month will receive a waiver of the Water Supply Replacement Charge. Last year, the charge of $9.83 was waived on an average of 33,000 monthly customer bills.

EPWater has partnered with Project Amistad, a local nonprofit, on a customer assistance program to help elderly, low- income customers who are at risk of disconnection. The program will provide bill payment assistance, money management counseling and help with home conservation.

If approved on January 9, the budgets, rates and fees will go into effect at the start of the fiscal year, which begins March 1, 2019.

El Paso Water | All Rights Reserved | Powered by CivicLive | © 2018 West Corporation