Photo courtesy EP Water

PSB reviews 2020-21 proposed budgets; If approved, increase totals $2.81/month for homeowners

El Paso Water staff presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2020-21 Stormwater and Water/Wastewater budgets to the Public Service Board (PSB) on Monday evening.

“Major wastewater system upgrades along with pipeline extensions and new water storage tanks are needed to serve our growing community,” said EPWater President and CEO John Balliew. “To better serve our customers, we are improving our customer service and emergency dispatcher technology.”

The PSB will consider a budget that includes no increase in stormwater fees, a 5% increase in water fees, and a 5% increase in wastewater fees.

If approved, the combined $490 million budget will result in an average increase of $2.81 per month for the typical homeowner.

Four key priorities are driving the increase to budget and rates: securing our future water supply, system expansion for city growth, improvements in customer services and rehabilitation of aging infrastructure. Investments in these areas will support long-term sustainability and reliability for EPWater customers.

Major capital projects for the new fiscal year include launching an expansion of the Bustamante Wastewater Treatment Plant, upgrading our treatment system at the Canal plant in Chihuahuita, and beginning expansion of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant.

Work will continue to complete stormwater flood control projects already underway.

Via a news release, EP Water officials shared the following:

Compared to Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, EPWater’s monthly charges are the second-lowest of large Texas cities; only Laredo’s water rates are lower.

EPWater’s rate structure will continue to provide relief for low-water users while charging more for high-water users. Customers using less than 4 ccfs* (2,992 gallons) of water in any given month will receive a waiver of the $11.04 Water Supply Replacement Charge.

Last year, the charge was waived on about 33,000 monthly customer bills. EPWater will also continue its partnership with Amistad to help low-income senior customers with bill payment assistance, conservation, and money management counseling.

If approved, the budgets, rates and fees will go into effect at the start of the fiscal year, which begins March 1, 2020.