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Council considers utility rates increases
STOCKDALE -- A debate about whether or not to charge those located within the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction more for city services dominated the July 12 Stockdale City Council budget workshop.
The challenge at hand is to make up for the deficit the sewage and gas utilities are having on the city’s books.
Division within the council occurred when the discussion focused on a base charge plus gallons used for the recreational-vehicle (RV) parks as listed under the commercial rates. The council was split regarding the amount charged to those within the city limits versus those residing outside the city limits.
Mayor Johnny Stahl stated that those not living in the city limits are not paying ad valorem tax, but are receiving the same services as those living within the city. “Why should we be subsidizing those living outside the city limits?” Stahl asked.
The council was reminded that a public hearing will be held for input, prior to adopting new rates.
A sewage rate increase is being proposed. The council is considering whether to discontinue giving away/allowing the first 2,500 gallons water in estimating sewage bills.
Commercial sewage rates will increase from $1.50 per 1,000 gallons to $2.50 per 1,000 gallons. The council also is proposing an ordinance to add a grease trap provision in the commercial rates structure.
The city’s 283 natural gas customers also will see an increase in their fees. The council is considering a $1 increase per 1,000 cubic feet used.
While the council discussed proposed utility increases to offset the deficits in the sewage and gas accounts, the proposed 2012-13 budget will include a 3-percent increase for all city employees, except for the city manager, who requested not to be included in the increase. The $481,800 budgeted for employee pay and compensation includes the pay increase, retirement, and a 7.5- to 17.5-percent increase in insurance. According to City Secretary Thania Santos, the last employee pay increase was three years ago.
City Manager Banks Akin also asked the council to update city tapping fees, to be more in line with other local municipalities. Stahl instructed Akin to calculate the charges, to include the cost of the meter plus the cost to repair street damage during installation, for council consideration.
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