City of Phoenix considering changes in water rate, increases for taxpayers
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Phoenix homeowners could soon see their water bill go up. The city’s Water Services Department is proposing higher rates in response to inflation. The City of Phoenix says it’s looking to increase water prices up to 13%, and for the first time ever if you don’t conserve water, you could even see a $4 surcharge.
“We are looking at a 6.5% revenue increase in October of 23, a 6.5% in march of 24 and a 13% in march of 2025. Each time the average water users bill would go up $2 or so on the 6.5,” said Troy Hayes, the Water Services Director for Phoenix.
He says what the city pays for in electricity and chemicals to treat the water is climbing. But that’s not the only thing driving up the need for an increase. “Our personnel costs have gone up and then the raw water costs, the cost we have to pay to actually buy water from the Colorado River system or from the Salt and Verde River have all gone up all of those adding pressure on the utilities,” Hayes said.
Right now, he said customers are paying a base fee according to a specific amount of water use. It’s called a water allowance and hasn’t changed since 1990. “If they use more water, then the price goes up,” said Hayes. “We really want our customers to go out and look at their water usage and reduce it down.”
Max Wilson, the Water Conservation Coordinator for the City of Phoenix, says residents can take steps to ease the impact of rate hikes and avoid the proposed surcharge for not conserving water. The monthly service charge, according to a document posted by City of Phoenix officials, includes 4.488 gallons of water from October through May, and 7,480 gallons of water for June through September.
“On average, we find that even during the hottest months of the year, for the thirstiest plants, June with grass, you still don’t need to be watering those plants more than twice a week. If you’re doing more than that right now, you’re using more water than you need to outside,” Wilson said.
The city council could vote on the proposal sometime in June. There are at least 15 planned meetings citywide to explain these hikes to taxpayers, and city resources and programs are available for those who are unable to pay their bill. The City of Phoenix’s website has a list of the meetings here.
The city acknowledges this could cause issues with affordability but says several programs in place could help. They want people to go to this site to see if they qualify.
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