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City increases water rates, contemplates lowering tax rate


City residents here will pay more for water, following a decision by the La Vernia City Council during an Aug. 25 special called meeting.

According to Mayor Harold Schott after the meeting, the council approved an increase to the operations and maintenance fee and water usage fees. Operations and maintenance will increase from $1 to $3 per meter.

One reason for the increase is the higher rates to the city from the Canyon Regional Water Authority for line use and administration costs.

“The new rate is $44,444, up $10,000, and that’s not including water!” Schott said.

New for residents will be no more “free” water, as the council approved 3-percent across-the-board water rate increases. Before, Schott said, the different-sized meters had certain amounts of water included in the base rate, which will no longer exist.

“The most painful thing any council does is raise rates,” Schott said. “But this brings us close to balancing the books. We’ll maybe profit by about $1,000.”

The meeting was followed by a budget workshop, in which the council members continued their line-by-line review of the city’s income and expenditures, preparing for the coming fiscal year.

The city’s tax rate may come down, Schott said. The current rate is 2.173 cents per $100 of appraised value. The rate being considered is 1.99 cents per $100 of appraised value. Since this was a workshop, no action was taken, however.

“It’s the leanest budget I believe we’ve ever done,” the mayor said. “Last year’s was pretty lean, but this is leaner.”

La Vernia still is paying on a 40-year bond, used to set up the city’s first water-supply system. It should be paid off within the next three years, Schott said.

The city will need to transfer some funds from savings to balance the budget, according to the mayor.

“You can only cut so deep,” he added. “We’re about as conservative as we can get. It’s a good budget.”

Public hearings on the budget and tax rate will take placed Thursday, Sept. 8, prior to the regular city council meeting, according to City Secretary Angela Cantu Aug. 30. She said further hearings would take place Sept. 15, and adoption of the tax rate and budget would be scheduled for Sept. 28-29.

Budget and tax rate public hearings:
Thursday, Sept. 8
Thursday, Sept. 15

Adoption of budget and tax rate:
Sept. 28-29

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