The City of Sugar Land will implement several rate and fee changes beginning Jan. 1. The fees and rates were approved by city council in September.
The “surface water” rate will increase from 76 cents to $1.42 per 1,000 gallons beginning Jan. 1. In addition to the normal charges for water usage, city utility customers pay a separate rate based on billed water consumption. The surface water charges support the city’s mandated conversion to surface water. Construction of the city’s surface water treatment plant is in progress.
Although the surface water rate is increasing, water and wastewater rates will not change — an effort by the city to minimize the impact of overall utility bills while Sugar Land transitions to surface water. An average residential utility bill for 11,000 gallons of water usage will increase by $7.25 per month.
The city’s water and wastewater system is self-supporting. Each year, rates are adjusted to reflect increasing costs of providing water to customers. All expenses are paid through the fees charged to customers each month. No property tax or sales tax dollars support the utility system.
Despite surface water rate increases, residential solid waste rates will decrease beginning Jan. 1 due to implementation of automated waste collection. Customers currently pay $17.63 per month for twice weekly curbside recycling and refuse collection. The switch in December to automated pickup will result in a new rate of $16 per month that will be reflected on January bills, a savings of $1.63 per month.
Other user fees — such as facility rental charges, permits and rental registration licenses — will also increase in January. These fees are adjusted annually based on the CPI index, to offset inflationary expenses. However, the City did not increase fees in 2011 to minimize impacts of the recession on residents. Fees will be increased 4.9 percent based on the two year CPI change.