During Wednesday morning’s regularly scheduled Public Service Board (PSB) meeting, members approved the 2016-17 budget for the El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU.)
The budget, first proposed last November, includes expenses for the EPWU’s water, stormwater, wastewater ad reclaimed water project.
EPWU released the following statement: “At today’s January meeting, the Public Service Board approved El Paso Water Utilities budget for fiscal year 2016-2017 as proposed at the November budget workshops. EPWU’s budget will include $463.2 million for water and wastewater utilities and $57.8 million for stormwater, as well as an 11 percent increase to water/wastewater rates and monthly stormwater fees.”
According to information released during the budget proposal meetings in November, the 11% increase means the average residential bills will increase by about $4.52 monthly from $41.56 to $46.08. Officials at the time said that the rate structure will remain the same to reward conservation; customers save money when saving water.
Regarding the increase to the water/wastewater and monthly stormwater fees, officials say the stormwater fee increase will allow EPWU to complete more capital projects, increase flood protection, pay off debt accrued from previous projects and increase cash reserves — which are important for the utility to maintain its AA+ bond rating and qualify for lower interest loans.
Officials with the EPWU went on to say that the rate increase would help fund future water supply projects, address aging infrastructure needs and support system expansion to keep pace with city growth.