Jacinto City increases Water/Sewer rates by 15%

LON SQUYRES, Jacinto City City Manager

By Allan Jamail

Jacinto City – April 27, 2023 at the Jacinto City (JC) city council meeting, Mayor Ana Diaz and the city council unanimously approved a hefty 15 percent increase to the residents for their water and sewer usage.

City Manager Lon Squyres recommended the large increase because the city of Houston raised its rates on the city. He said JC hasn’t had a rate increase in over a decade (10 years). He said the average monthly bill from Houston where JC buys its water is $80,000.

Squyres said over the years JC’s water and sewer rates were not enough to pay the Houston bill and they were having to make up the shortage from income obtained elsewhere in the city’s revenue sources.

Former Mayor Allan Jamail asked Squyres how much over the $80,000 Houston bill would the increase generate. Squyres said the new rates would bring in about $145,000 or $65,000 in surplus over and above the current $80,000 Houston invoice. This surplus revenue can quickly accrue to make a big profit annually for the city.

Some have questioned why the city waited 10 years before adjusting the rates so that the sudden impact wouldn’t hit them so hard and all at once. Others pointed out this increase was timed to wait until a month after the election filing date for Mayor and the city council positions had expired.

Since this usually is an annual rate increase from Houston to JC several people have felt it’s best to pass the rate increase through to the residents sooner than waiting 10 years to do it. Doing so would also prevent the large profit surplus from accruing annually.

Most JC residents have a low income average of $46,000. Since learning of the rate increase some have said this large of an increase will negatively impact their livable income budget.

The higher rate will also pay for increases in the cost of operating, maintaining, and repairing the combined water and wastewater (sewer) utility system. It will protect the financial integrity of the utility systems and help to keep the city’s ability to stay in compliance with state and federal environmental regulations.

Other business before the mayor and council was the opening and awarding of bids from contractors for paving projects on Lane, Switzer and Oats Road. The low bidder of the three bids went to Trinity LLC for $202,764.00.

The mayor and council approved the sale at a public auction used equipment. (1) a Dayton air compressor model #329994, (2) a Marathon Electric-Magna One generator, (no model or serial number provided) and (3) an Onan generator, (no model or serial number provided).

Anyone interested in seeing or bidding on the items can go to the website: govdeals.com. The site will direct bidders to where and when they can go to examine the items at public works. Or call public works at: (713) 453-7411. Chad Burke, President and CEO of the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region gave their annual report.