By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Saltillo’s Public Works director has proposed water and sewage rate increases, with the extra money going to overhaul the city’s water and sewage system.
Richard Feist told the Saltillo Board of Aldermen on Thursday night said the rate increase is the best solution to fixing a revenue shortfall and funding a new water system.
“We’re selling less water,” Feist said Thursday night at a special called meeting for budget discussion. “We’re pumping less water. But we’re being charged more for electricity.”
Feist proposed a $2 monthly increase to the minimum bills for water and sewage, plus a 5 percent rate increase for usage over the minimum.
The minimum bill for sewage now is $11. If the rate increase is approved, it would go to $13. Minimum water bills outside the city limits would go from $12 to $14. Minimum water bills inside the city limits would go from $9 to $11.
The rate increases would generate about $124,650 annually, Feist said. The money would be put in an account and a project would be tackled every two years.
Some of the goals for the entire water rehabilitation project include getting a better fire rating so insurance rates will be lower and increasing water pressure, capacity and fire hydrants throughout the city.
The other option for funding the water system overhaul, Feist said, is taking out a $1.3 million loan at a 4 percent interest rate. With the loan, Feist said, the city would lose money through interest payments.
Alderman Brad Woodcock praised the “pay-as-you-go” method.
“Our mentality is so wrong in America when we keep thinking we can borrow to go out and build,” he said. “We might get to a day when we can’t pay it back.”
Saltillo has a public hearing at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the city budget. The proposed rate increases are not on the agenda, but they are part of the budget.
Aldermen won’t vote Tuesday night.