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Section A: General News


Consultant: Floresville water rates must rise




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March 6, 2013 | 1,921 views | 7 comments

FLORESVILLE -- Residents of the city will see their water rates increase. Floresville citizens will be asked to bail out their government after water rate study results were presented Feb. 28 to the Floresville City Council.

Raul Gonzales of Community Resource Group presented his completed water rate study, which shows Floresville’s water rates have been grossly neglected over the years.

“Your calculation for your current rates is .66 [percent of median household income]; that’s low,” Gonzales said. “That’s a good thing [for the public] because that means you have low water and sewer rates, but it’s also the lowest I’ve seen in, well, ever.”

Gonzales said the typical systems he works with are somewhere in the range of 1.25 percent and 1.3 percent of median household income.

Floresville’s operating reserve also was very low. According to Gonzales, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) standard is one-eighth of the city’s expenses.

“You had about $40,000 in the water and sewer account and that is not a good thing,” Gonzales said. “The other significant finding was that the budget did include a shortfall of about $113,000.”

“Obviously, a water and sewer rate increase is needed to meet the anticipated debt obligations, to operate and maintain the water and sewer system, and implement the capital repairs, replacements, and improvements,” Gonzales continued.

The current water rates for the city of Floresville are $13.50 for the first 3,000 gallons, $1.50 each thousand for the next 9,000 gallons, and $2 for each thousand over 12,000 gallons.

However, Mayor Diana Garza confirmed that the two tiers beyond the $13.50 base charge are not being collected at this time.

“Just to cover your current obligations, not including future debt, you would need to increase the minimum charge to $16,” Gonzales said, adding that the volume rate would increase from $1.50 to $2.80.

Floresville has three current loan requests with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) -- a $1.3 million loan for the water system and two wastewater treatment loans of $1.6 million and $2.5 million.

A second water rate option presented includes the proposed debt with USDA for water and sewer expansion.

With the proposed water and sewer improvements, the minimum charge would increase to $17.55, with the volume charge remaining at $2.80, Gonzales said.

The sewer rates study forecasts three separate increases to fund the two phases of the sewer improvements.

The current rate is $12.50 for residential sewer service. To break even with its current obligations, the city would have to increase that fee to $16.50.

In order to begin the capital improvement plan’s first phase for wastewater treatment, the rate would increase from $12.50 to $19.50. If the additional proposed wastewater expansion is implemented, the rate would have to be raised to $23.

“So, your immediate attention should be to respond to phase one of the water rates and phase one of the sewer rates,” Gonzales advised the council. “The interest rates right now are real low with USDA. You need to act now.”

Also during the meeting, the council met with legal counsel in executive session regarding three separate matters.

In the matter of Sisley v. Floresville, the council advised its attorneys to continue the city’s defense. Paul Sisley filed legal action against the city of Floresville after his application for a special-use permit to build a mobile-home park was denied last year.

The city council decided not to respond to a demand letter from the Showalter Law Firm on behalf of Ruben Ramos dated Jan. 13, 2013. This is related to expenses for the city’s Holiday Extravaganza last December.

Council members also elected to take no action at this time regarding a demand letter from William T. Avila, stating only that there is no record of any council action in any matter regarding Avila.

In other business, the council:

•Did not approve minutes from previous meetings, due to incomplete information.

•Approved a contract with the Wilson Memorial Hospital District board to provide a facility for the May 11 election.

•Approved the appointment of Alex Treviño to the Floresville Parks Foundation.

•Heard from Virgil Russell regarding flags for veterans buried in Wilson County.

•Tabled an expenditure request from Lt. Jesse Evins of the Floresville Police Department for the purchase of a “Ticket Writer” from Brazos Communication.

•Tabled an agenda item to approve a contract for municipal court fines and fees collection.

In attendance: Mayor Diana Garza; councilmen Sherry M. Castillo, Jim Miller, Eric Rodriguez, John Guerrero, and Mario Morones; City Secretary Sherry Pollok; Cyndi Nichols with the Permits Office; and Comptroller Lara Feagins.

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Your Opinions and Comments

 
One Voice  
Floresville  
March 9, 2013 8:19pm
 
Concerned - read my blog - it tells who Avila is. I agree - the citizens have the right to know what is going on in OUR city.

 
Concerned Tax Payer  
Floresville, Texas  
March 9, 2013 7:41pm
 
Eric, why can't everything become public so the taxpayers can be told? Who is this Avila too and why does he have a demand letter? What is going on and why can't the truth be told? It is time for Floresville to know the truth ... More ›

 
Eric  
Floresville  
March 9, 2013 6:42pm
 
One voice, word is Ruben Ramos may have just provided the evidence to send Danny Tejada to prison.

 
Webmaster  
Floresville  
March 8, 2013 1:34pm
 
Videos posted

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
March 8, 2013 11:58am
 
The chickens are coming home to roost.

 
One Voice  
Floresville  
March 8, 2013 10:06am
 
1. Who is Ruben Ramos? And what is he demanding? 2. Why is Tejada's good buddy, Mr. Avila sending a demand letter to Floresville? Mr. Avila was the lawyer having to do with the original bond and the refinancing of the ... More ›

 
STILL WONDER  
SA  
March 7, 2013 8:16pm
 
How come I can not find any reporting on the financial presentation from this meeting? Wasnt there one done?

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