By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
The Laguna Madre Water District (LMWD) Board of Directors deliberated changing the rates for water and waste water service, as well as entering into a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TRZ) interlocal agreement with the City of South Padre Island during Tuesday night’s meeting.
The Board ultimately tabled both agenda items after lengthy discussions led them to ask for more information.
During the discussion of rates for water and sewer service, the Board was shown several options for a tiered system for assessing charges. The system divides customers into different brackets based on the number of gallons used per month and the size of meter used. The proposed rates would comprise an approximate 3 percent increase for water service and a 9 percent increase for waste water service.
“As you can see there, I brought up again Option No. 5, an increase on all meters. On the water side, it will be around a 3 percent increase, … and on the waste water side, it’s a 9 percent increase,” District General Manager Carlos Galvan said.
Questions arose, however, when Director Whitey Thomas noted that a on different option, Option No. 6, the tier that would affect many households — those with a five-eighths inch meter — did not seem to take into account the lowest average amount of water use. At the bottom of the fee structure, the proposal would establish an increase from the base fee rate once a customer used between 2,001 and 10,000 gallons of water per month.
“A person, a homeowner, cannot bathe their clothes, wash their kids and cook their meals for 2,000 gallons. I’d say leave that at 4,000 gallons,” Thomas said. “Under the 1-inch meter, they’ve cut them down to 3,000 from 6,000. I would bring that up to 4,000 gallons so it’s in line with the five-eighths meter. And I would pass (Option) No. 6 in its entirety.”
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