Allen residents will get some relief from an expected 10% increase in the City’s water rates.
Thanks to budgeting changes made by North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), the City of Allen will pay less than expected for the wholesale water it purchases for citizens. Those savings will be passed on to Allen utility customers by lowering the expected 10% rate increase to 7%. Residents will see the new rate reflected in their November 2018 utility bills.
In 2017, the City of Allen began preparing residents for rising rates due to a change in wholesale water costs. The City’s supplier, NTMWD, must spend more money to supply safe drinking water than in years past due to population growth, aging infrastructure and new regulatory requirements. Numerous big-ticket projects have been recently completed or are coming online in the near future, including a $1.6 billion new lake and water plant, $300 million Lake Texoma water pipeline, and $200 million new wastewater plant.
The City of Allen has its own higher costs due to community growth, EPA regulations and more expensive technology. Allen is also aging, meaning that some of the City’s older neighborhoods are due for major water and sewer replacements—such as the $8 million water and sanitary sewer project currently underway in the Hillside neighborhood.
“We don’t know what will happen in 2020, 2021 and beyond,” said Allen Community Services Director Steve Massey. “Usually in the spring [NTMWD] redevelops its long-range cost projections. When they give us those new numbers we’ll update our 2017 rate study to make sure our rates accommodate those new demands with the minimum possible impact to Allen customer cost.”
Allen City Council previously directed actions that help reduce water costs. In 2017, council members voted to raise infrastructure impact fees for new developments and changed the way water and sewer infrastructure projects were financed, saving customers $15.75 million over the next 10 years.
Residents can take advantage of numerous resources to keep utility costs low by using less water. Allen utility customers are eligible for rebates on SMART irrigation equipment, rain and freeze sensors, rain barrels, low-flow toilets and water-efficient washing machines. Residents can get low-water lawn care, gardening and other landscaping tips each spring during free seminars hosted by Allen Water Conservation. Select sessions in the Sustainable Landscape Series are available to watch online. Staff also publish a monthly email newsletter with watering reminders, sustainable landscaping resources and other tips to keep water use (and costs) low.
Even with the 7% increase, most Allen utility customers pay less for water than neighbors in every other NTMWD member city – including Plano, Richardson, McKinney and Frisco.
“We’re very efficient in the way we deliver this service,” said Massey. “We’re sorry that it’s costing more...but you could be in other cities and certainly be paying more.”