Last Thursday, the San Antonio City Council approved a two-year rate adjustment of 5.8% for 2018 and 4.7% for 2019. The rate adjustments are said to generate an additional $36.3 million for key infrastructure improvements within the SAWS capital plan. Your San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Richard Perez testified in support of the proposed rate adjustments, highlighting them as a necessary investment in our community.
The SAWS capital program is the sole driver in the 2018 rate adjustment and two-thirds of the 2019 adjustment. Most of the projects within the plan are mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of a $1 billion consent decree issued in 2013. The consent decree required upgrades in the SAWS sewer system to reduce sewage spills and leaks. However, while the primary focus of improvements will be toward wastewater infrastructure, there will be a significant investment in water infrastructure as well. These rate adjustments will nearly double the average level of investment over the last four years.
The Chamber believes the rate adjustments strike the right balance of residents’ pocket books and prevention of further deferred maintenance. “These rate adjustments will fund critical infrastructure improvements that will ensure reliable water and sewer service to homeowners and businesses, as well as send the right message that San Antonio is a community that invests in itself”, Perez said.
Since its existence, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has advocated for long-term solutions to ensure an adequate, affordable, and quality supply of water for San Antonio and the surrounding region. In 2014, The Chamber adopted a position statement in support of the 142-mile Vista Ridge Water Pipeline project and implicit future rate increases to pay for the project. In 2015, upon careful review and validation, the Chamber supported the SAWS’ rate adjustments of 7.5% in 2016 and 7.9% in 2017 to begin construction.
To learn more about the approved SAWS two-year rate increase visit, http://www.saws.org/rates/