Jersey Village increases water rates
Jersey Village residents will see an increase on their water bills this summer.
City Council voted in favor of a 3.6 percent water rate increase Monday.
Danny Segundo, Jersey Village public works director, said the increase is needed to cover rate increases enacted by the city of Houston, which provides water to Jersey Village through a contract.
Segundo said Houston enacted a 16 percent water rate increase in January. The same month Jersey Village raised its water rate by 8 percent to cover the resulting additional cost.
The intent of city council at the time was to implement any additional necessary increases in January 2011," he said.
Segundo said Houston officials recently notified Jersey Village about another water rate increase that could go into effect next January. With that increase on the horizon, staff recommended the 3.6 percent increase now, he said.
Mike Castro, Jersey Village city manager, said the city of Jersey Village sent a letter to all property owners notifying them about the potential rate increase, and council's plan to discuss the matter and take a vote at the June 21 meeting.
That letter states Houston has increased the rate it charges Jersey Village for water several times in the past three years. The resulting cost increases must be passed through to residential and commercial customers, Castro said, because revenue from property and sales-tax collections cannot be used to offset cost increases from water rates.
Those rate increases came about as a result of a comprehensive water rate study the city of Houston conducted in 2004, Castro said. The study resulted in a 19 percent increase to the rate Houston charges municipalities, but the increase did not take effect until September 2007.
In October 2007, the Jersey Village City Council increased water rates 10 percent to cover the increased costs associated with the Houston increase. In December 2009, the city of Houston notified Jersey Village that it would increase its water rate charge to the city by another 16 percent.
In January 2010, the Jersey Village City Council approved an 8 percent increase. Though Jersey Village did not plan to implement additional rate increases until January 2011, in May Houston notified Jersey Village that it had completed a second rate study, which recommended another 12.7 percent increase for municipal customers.
The average monthly water bill in Jersey Village is $21.35, he said. With the 3.6 percent increase, that average bill will climb to $22.12.
It is important to increase the water rates also to maintain the health Jersey Village's utility fund, Segundo said.
We do not want to get in the same situation as the city of Houston," Segundo said.
Jersey Village City Councilman Rod Erskine asked if Jersey Village would be collecting additional revenue beyond what's needed to cover costs incurred by Houston's rate increase.
No this is just a pass-through," Segundo said.
Faced with elevated contamination levels in its two ground-water wells, and a pending mandate to convert to a surface water supply, Jersey Village city leaders negotiated a deal with the city of Houston in June 2000 to buy a minimum of 750,000 gallons of water a day from its Jersey Village well field. When Houston switched to a surface water delivery system about seven years ago, it began delivering water to Jersey Village through an interconnect pipeline between the Seattle Street well and a Houston pipeline along U.S. 290.
Houston currently delivers about 20 million to 60 million gallons of water per month to the city of Jersey Village at a cost of $2.190 per thousand gallons.
Segundo said Jersey Village has two standby groundwater wells in the city limits at 16600 Village Drive and 12115 West Road.
Less than 20 percent of the city's water comes from well water," Segundo said.
Jersey Village has 2,286 water customers.
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