City council plans to vote on SAWS rates hike on Thursday

San Antonio City Council plans to vote on a SAWS proposal that would increase bills by more than 10 percent.

SAN ANTONIO - Your SAWS bill could increase more than 10 percent over the next two years if San Antonio City Council approves a proposal by SAWS on Thursday.

Councilman Greg Brockhouse expects the bill to pass, although he opposes it. The councilman has criticized the proposal strongly and plans to vote against the rate hike.

SAWS proposed a 5.8 percent increase in 2018 and an additional 4.7 percent increase in 2019. The proposal would increase the typical household bill at $62.95 an additional $6.22 over two years, $3.51 in 2018 and $2.71 in 2019.

The money will fund updates to aging pipes, water meters, and fund a new water project, according to SAWS.

"Many of our pipes through San Antonio have aged quite a bit and we can't ignore it,” said Anne Hayden, a spokesperson for SAWS. “It's something that a lot of people don't see... but we all expect to get clean water when we turn on the faucet."

She says that SAWS needs to replace miles and miles of pipes required by the EPA and repair the water and sewer infrastructure.

SAWS also plans to kick off a pilot program to test automated electric meters in hopes of finding a more efficient way to collect information.

Councilman Brockhouse calls the proposal an insult to thousands of families already struggling to pay their bills as well as families living on an assistance program.

"At some point, we have to be able to stop and say, 'Enough is enough,' and, 'Let's work within the dollars and finances we have right now and make sure we are being respectful of taxpayer and ratepayer money,” Councilman Brockhouse argued.

He suggests making cuts on executive bonuses before asking taxpayers for more money, but Hayden says that they’re already asking for the minimum amount needed to fund the necessary updates and projects.

For more information on the proposal or to check how your bill will be impacted next year on the SAWS calculator, you can visit their official website here: SAWS.org/rates.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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