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City council approves water rate increase proposed by SAWS

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SAN ANTONIO - The city council approved a water rate increase Thursday afternoon proposed by the San Antonio Water System, beginning in 2018.

SAWS wants to raise rates by 5.8 percent in 2018 and 4.7 percent in 2019. In total, that amounts to a 10.5 percent increase over the next two years. The water company said more money is needed for improvement projects.

Councilmembers voiced opposition against the price hike, citing rate increases last year, followed by a pay raise and bonus for CEO Robert Puente.

Three weeks ago, we reached out to the councilmembers for their opinion on the proposal. Greg Brockhouse (District 6), John Courage (District 9) and Clayton Perry (District 10) said they were planning on voting no.

“While I understand that there are necessary infrastructure improvements that need to be made, I do not agree with the consistent rise of rates in the past six years,” Perry said in a statement. “The past six rate increases have totaled over 40 percent.”

Shirley Gonzales (District 5) and Manny Pelaez (District 8) told us they plan on approving the proposal.

“Sewers and storm water, I do believe, is one of those areas that if we don’t invest in it now, we’re going to regret it later,” Pelaez said. “The difficulty that these utilities have is in explaining the value that this investment has to the citizens."

Two councilmembers were undecided at the time, while three did not provide an on-the-record comment.


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