Sewer is also increased 50 percent; new rates effective starting October 15

BALLINGER– With a deficit of $222,000 in the water system, the Ballinger City Council voted last Monday night, September 15, 2014 to apply a 59 percent increase in the base water rates, and a 50 percent in the sewer service.

The motion, made by Phillip Arp and seconded by Darlene Kelly, was voted unanimously at the regular council meeting. Kelly, Arp, and Mayor Sam Mallory were the only council members present with Jolene McBurney and Eloyed Fuentes absent from the meeting.

According to Arp’s motion the current base rate, at $35 for the first 4,000 gallons, will be increased to $40 for 2,000 gallons only. From there on the water will be charged at $7.80 per thousand gallons.

The new rate sets the price of the first 4,000 gallons of water at $55.60, an effective increment of 58.85 percent from the original $35.

“I like it, I’m fully aware that this is a pretty good increase but… if we would have broke even this year we would have a surplus of $150,000,” said City Administrator Bryan Grimes.

“Honestly, we’ve had this negative for years but we’ve just made up for it from another areas,” said Arp.

The water rate outside the city limits was also increased to $60 base rate.

A 50 percent increase for the sewer service was also voted unanimously following a motion made by Darlene Kelly. The sewer rates were increased from $20.63 to $30. Both of the water and sewer rates will be effective starting on October 15, 2014 and will be reflected in the November bills.

“True cost of water is what it is costing us to get water from the source to the tap, we have adopted a budget were the total water revenue is $2.279 million. Of that $856,000 is debt service which leaves operation and maintenance at $1.423 million with approximately 1,800 water accounts,” said Grimes.

The Ballinger City Council also discussed setting new fees for disposal of trees and limbs on city property, but the item was tabled and no action was taken at this time.

Due to the lack of challengers the upcoming election was cancelled. Places due for the upcoming November general election were Single Member District No. 3, currently held by Jolene McBurney, and Single Member District No. 4 currently held by Eloyed Fuentes. Both of them council members filed for re-election and were unopposed.

With no feedback received during the two hearings held, the City of Ballinger also adopted the proposed Property Tax rate of $.44 per $100 of property appraised value. The rate is 8.43 percent higher than the 2014 fiscal year rate and 13.78 percent higher than the effective tax rate, which is the rate needed to raise the same amount of property tax revenue for the City of Ballinger for the same properties in the prior year.