City Council debating both sides of SAWS rate hike

There were extreme opposite opinions at city council on Wednesday as council members debated SAWS's proposed rate hike.

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg supports the SAWS rate hike but other city council members, like Greg Brockhouse, are completely against it. 

"I think we have to be very careful with any penny we take from a taxpayer's checkbook," Councilman Brockhouse said.

SAWS proposed its rate increase at Wednesday's city council meeting. The cost could soon increase 5.8 percent in 2018 and an additional 4.7 in 2019.

"We have to make sure water keeps coming through people's faucets, that's the goal," Mayor Nirenberg said.

SAWS notified customers of the rate hike proposal before Wednesday's meeting, sending emails about the changes they want to make.

Councilman Brockhouse said that the hike would be a few dollars now, but that could change.

"I'm not concerned about 5.8 percent," Brockhouse noted. "I'm concerned about 35 to 50 percent. It is going to be massive rate increases over the next three to five years, and we need to let citizens know that."

Mayor Nirenberg said that rate increases are a normal part of maintaining water systems.

"This keeps us, again, one of the lowest rates in Texas but allows us the investments to upgrade sewer systems as well as maintain infrastructure," he said.

While Councilman Brockhouse agrees that improvements should be made, he says that SAWS should look elsewhere before cashing in on citizens.

"I think they need to be highly efficient," Brockhouse said. "I think they need to examine everything from their food budget to their bonus structures, everything before they try to go and ask for money."

© 2017 KENS-TV


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