Water fees raised, watering restrictions reversed

Ruben Cantu-Rodriguez MyRunnelsCounty.com

Less than a month after taking  watering restrictions to Stage III City Council goes back to Stage II

BALLINGER– The Ballinger City Council approved a raise to water fees, reversed water restrictions to allow watering with sprinkler systems, and discussed an alternative to the recently closed City Park water-well by making the Airport waterline available to the public.

Monday night, at a regular City Council meeting, aldermen voted unanimously a motion presented by Phillip Arp, seconded by Darlene Kelly, to amend Section 27-37 Article II of the ordinance regarding water taps rates and charges.

Rates were increased in the amount of $50 for five different categories. The newly approved rates are $300 for 3/4”-5/8” water, $375 for 1” water taps, $475 for 1 1/2” water taps, $575 for 2” water taps, and a new fee was established for 6” commercial fire suppression water sprinkler systems in the amount of $600. All of the other water fees remained unchanged.

The City Council also voted unanimously to approve a motion by Darlene Kelly, seconded by Eloyed Fuentes, to participate in the Cooperative Purchasing Program of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

“This is a program that a number of cities is doing as well as Ballinger ISD, where 1.86 percent of the money put on the credit card is refunded back to the city,” said City Manager Bryan Grimes.

Council members discussed and voted to reverse the watering restrictions established less than a month ago, on May 20, prohibiting irrigation by all commercial, industrial and residential customers utilizing individual sprinklers or sprinkler systems for lawns, gardens, trees, shrubs and other plants. Under Stage III watering is still allowed every five days and under designated hours, but with a handheld water hose only.

Discussion was made and council member Phillip Arp made a motion to remain in Stage III of the Water Contingency Plan but effectively allow Stage II watering practices with sprinkler systems.

“We are not using a lot of water, and we have a problem because nobody is using water right now,” said Arp.

The council discussed and tabled the possibility of opening the Airport water line to the public, to substitute the recently closed water well at the City Park. The well, which was selling non-drinking water at $6 per thousand gallons, was closed on May 9 due to the low water levels.

The council is now evaluating the possibility of selling the water from the Airport waterline, which is in need to be flushed.

The city council tabled until the next meeting a presentation from Lisa Yates to the Ballinger Police Department in memory of the late officer L.J. Nitsch.

The Ballinger City Council met in executive session for consultation with the City Attorney for an update on alternative water resources.