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Southlake Style

Southlake Soaks Up Water Rate Increases in 2014

Jan 02, 2014 12:06PM ● By Anonymous

By Christina Mlynski

The City of Southlake is putting new initiatives and goals into motion as 2014 starts to come into view. One of the biggest changes residents will experience is an increase in water rates. 

In September, the Fort Worth City Council voted to approve retail water rates in the New Year, which is important to both Southlake residents and companies because both purchase water from Fort Worth.

The main driver for the rate increase is the cost to purchase raw water, which is a direct result of a pass-through rate from the City of Fort Worth. All Fort Worth water customers will see similar rate increases in the cost of their water. Put simply, it means that the cost per gallon of water for water will also increase for Southlake residents.

“The impact will be similar to the cost of a gallon of gas increasing at the pump,” explains City of Southlake director of public works Robert Price. “If you continue to use the same amount of water as in previous periods, compared to a bill in a previous period, the new monthly bill at the new rates will be higher than in past periods.”

As a result, the Southlake city council has allocated a large sum to the utility fund in 2014, which accounts for the operation, maintenance and acquisition of the city’s municipal water and sewer utility. The utility fund revenues are projected at $23.3 million, up 11.9%, or $23.3 million from last year.

The largest increase in the utility fund expenses is in the water line item. The water system will receive a 22.7% increase in the budget, which largely reflects increases passes along from the City of Forth Worth to Southlake.

More importantly, the rate increases reflect a 15% increase in raw water costs and a massive 57% increase in the overall peaking charge for infrastructure and maintenance costs.

The growth and necessity for raw water demand resulted in the Tarrant Regional Water District increasing Fort Worth’s cost by $9.3 million, which, in turn, directly impacts Southlake.

It’s important to note that the Tarrant Regional Water District owns and operates the major reservoirs and pipelines throughout Fort Worth’s Rolling Hills Treat Plan, which then distributes the water throughout the allocated cities.

“This is the cost of doing business,” Price says. “Southlake does not have its own water treatment plants. In the latest comprehensive master planning process, the city staff investigated other sources of water, but it was ultimately determined that continuing to purchase water from the City of Fort Worth was the most advantageous alternative available.”

Southlake residents are expected to see this increase on the bill they receive toward the beginning of the year, with a 12% increase for the first 40,000 gallons used and a 16% increase in excess of the initial 40,000 gallons.

To check out the other budget goals and initiatives for 2014, visit the City of Southlake