ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene citizens could see a $25 increase in their water bills over the next 5 years.
During the last city council meeting, Director of Water Utility Rodney Taylor proposed a 5-year rate increase plan to pay for three improvement plans totaling $407 million.
“So, we are increasing our rates at a higher rate, year to year, than the current rate is,” said Taylor.
Residents who use about 5,000 gallons of water currently pay about $56 a month, but with the new rate structure, that same resident would be paying $81.75 for the same amount of water by 2027.
“They can control some of what they pay each month by just managing the amount of water they use,” said Taylor.
Taylor says increasing the current rate charge structure will allow them to pay for a new three tier master plan.
The first being the water treatment master plan, for instance making sure we have clean water.
The second is the wastewater collection master plan, improving the ability to move water after it rains.
The third is the water distribution master plan, aimed to accommodate for future growth in Abilene.
All three plans are expected to cost $407 million over the next 30 years.
“Avoiding new debt service for projects planned over the coming year,” said Taylor.
By charging more each year for the next 5 years, they can put funds into the cash reserve to start the most important projects, which cost about $55 million. For example, improvements to Lake Abilene’s dam.
“We’re using what I would call a year-to-year increase, an incline that is about 8 percent,” said Taylor.
Taylor says with the aging infrastructure it is important for them to make these changes now.
“The most manageable way to handle with having the least impact on customers that we can,” said Taylor.
Taylor says the increase would plateau at fiscal year 2027 through fiscal year 2035, and then would lower until fiscal year 2050.
The rate increase will begin to go into effect for customers on their Oct. 1 bill.