Webb County Commissioners discuss water rate increase

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - Should Webb County residents prepare for a water rate increase in our community?

During Monday’s Webb County Commissioners Court meeting, the water consultant for Webb County proposed a water rate increase.

Dan V. Jackson, vice president of Willdan Financial Services presented commissioners the increase that would end the 18 years of no water rate increase.

Jackson, a consultant for the county for the past 13 years, says the water is inevitably rising in cost and the proposal is a next step to take.

The proposal is a five-year plan that would increase the water rate gradually.

Jackson says this comes as a social, financial, and community decision.

He advised commissioners that they should balance the need to run utilities like a business.

As water is subsidized for some communities, Jackson says making this utility independent will release funds to use for other services.

Commissioner Jesse Gonzalez, who represents the cities of El Cenizo and Rio Bravo believes this is not the right time for a water rate increase.

Gonzalez says, “We are not ready to raise our water rate because it’s going to affect our taxpayers, our customers of Rio Bravo and El Cenizo, that is a colonia, it’s considered a colonia.”

Commissioner Gonzalez went on to say that he does not want to have county residents in jeopardy because they can’t afford their water or pay their bills.

Gonzalez said he cannot make a decision on this item without showing the citizens what is being discussed in commissioners court.

He assured he will fight and be the voice of the constituents before the court makes any decision.

Gonzalez says with gas, rent, and groceries prices going up, the increase is not beneficial for community members’ pockets.

Once Gonzalez finds out about the next steps, he will plan townhall meetings in both Rio Bravo and El Cenizo.

He also invited the consultants to join him during the meetings so they can present the plan and hear what both communities have to say about it.

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