8 thoughts on “In 2019 Budget, SAWS Proposes 4.4% Increase to Average Customer’s Bill

  1. SAWS sure has friends on our City Council… With this council and that most recent one, everyone’s water bills continue to go increasely higher while the
    President of SAWS enjoyed a nice healthy raise . Enough said !

  2. The increases are exactly the same as planned last year – they’re not one penny lower. SAWS is simply playing silly math tricks again – badly. Last year’s request for 5.8% and 4.7% “bill impacts” explicitly stated “before EAA and TCEQ pass through fees.”

    Using SAWS’ numbers, the SAWS portion of the ‘average’ bill in 2018 went up $3.45 from $59.44 to $62.89; or 3.45/59.44 = 5.8%.

    The 2019 increases raise the SAWS portion of the bill up $2.94 from $62.89 to $65.83; or 2.94/62.89 = 4.7%.

    But now SAWS is calculating the percentage AFTER the fees because it’s a larger denominator, so it makes the increase LOOK smaller. The SAWS part of the bill increase is exactly the same, or $2.94.

    The exact-same-as-before 2019 $2.94 SAWS increase divided by the now larger $65.69 = 4.47%. I’d round that number up to 4.5% not down to 4.4%, but then again, I’m not SAWS.

    And that, voters, is why you need to vote YES on Prop A because you will never, ever, get a straight answer from SAWS about their rate increases.

    [P.S. The online rate calculator from SAWS is wrong (a few times!) and it also yields different numbers than the SAWS CFO. SAWS didn’t increase the 2019 CoSA stormwater fees, so it understates the 2019 bill totals. And the CFO didn’t catch that the passthrough fees dropped by $0.03 in 2018, so his numbers are still wrong – to SAWS benefit, naturally. SAWS’ 2019 bill increase of $2.94 is reduced to an overall increase of $2.91 (excluding the unanimously-approved-by Council stormwater increase, obviously). The after-passthrough total for 2018 is $65.66 (excluding the CoSA stormwater fee), not $65.69 like he claimed. But if you use his erroneous higher number for 2018, you get 4.43% for 2019’s increase ($2.91/65.69 = 4.43); so he’s not really lying, he’s just, well, wrong. But he is a highly paid CFO! Wouldn’t it just be easier if they said what the real rate increases were, instead of all of these gyrations?]

    [P.P.S Don’t even get me started on the bill comparison between cities…you don’t want to know.]

  3. Didn’t the “leadership” of SAWS foresee the need for sewer infrastructure improvements years ago? Probably not as the executives took their “earnings” and ignored the day to day operations of the entity. What are the proposed raises for the executives at SAWS?

    • The Sanitary Sewer Overflow Reduction Program (SSORP) aka the “Consent Decree” is actually up to $1.492 billion, not the cited $1.1 billion. The $400 million (~40%) increase is noted in last year’s CoSA analysis of the rate increases, page 5. Look it up, I did. “Preliminary estimates of the cost of such additional capital expenditures are approximately $400 million, bringing…the total SSORP estimated costs to $1.492 billion.”

      SAWS likes to say “over $1.1 Bn.” That way the information isn’t wrong, per se; it’s just ‘outdated.’

  4. People should look at their cell phone or cable bills before griping about water and sewer rates. Safe water and good sewer systems are what separates us from third world countries. Water and sewer rates are very low compared to the value they add to our lives.

    • Dilly! Dilly! I checked out those books concerning WATER that I read about in SAEN. General Public too busy complaining about high water/sewer bills.
      Be thankful our arid region has another source of water and local water/municipal leaders demonstrate vision to plan for long term. I do not want to be around when long duration drought occurs- my children/grandchildren, well, this is your responsibility.

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