Wharton residents can expect their water utility to go up 10 percent, and in a different matter, their garbage collection service to experience a hike also.

The Wharton City Council was told about this and then acted on the matter during a Monday, Aug. 26 regular meeting.

A memorandum dated Aug. 21 from Wharton Finance Director Joan Andel to Wharton City Manager Andres Garza explained the proposed increase in utility rates for customers to be effective Oct. 1. 

It should not come as a surprise to residents since elected officials and city staff did discuss this matter during a council budget workshop on Aug. 13. At the workshop, a 10 percent increase in water and sewer rates was on the table in time for the beginning of the budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20.

According to the proposed changes, some of the increases are as follows:

Water rate

First 2,000 gallons current payment $21.41 – 10 percent increase payment $23.55

Next 2,000 gallons current payment $4.06 per $1,000 – 10 percent increase payment $4.47per 1,000

Water tap fees

¾ inch T-off current payment $235.77 – 10 percent increase payment $259.35

¾ inch current payment $471.52 – 10 percent increase payment $518.67

This will affect sections 15, 16, 17 and 21 of the Chapter 86 Utilities and Services Ordinance.

A current and proposed 10 percent increase chart was made available during the meeting for the council to view through its meeting packet. The same information can be viewed on Wharton’s website.

Solid waste, disposal service

Andel said the City of Wharton was hand delivered a letter on Tuesday, Aug. 20 requesting a rate increase of 2.20 percent for solid waste services by Waste Corporation of America (WCA).

“This will result in an increase to the residential customers of 45 cents per month while commercial customers will increase to 58 cents per month,” the WCA letter read.

According to WCA, an analysis shows that it has 2,427 Wharton customers and stands to gain $1,092.15 monthly from the rate hike. 

Andel told the city council that WCA may request rate modifications in accordance with the city’s agreement with the company. 

WCA’s Trevor Royal delivered to Wharton City Hall, and explained that the rate increase of 2.2 percent is in accordance with the consumer price index (CPI) mentioned in the city’s franchise agreement. 

“A component of our mutual contract allows for an annual rate adjustment on the anniversary date of the contract based on the most recent published CPI-Unit,” Royal said in the letter. “The CPI-U date rating for June 2019 was 480.894 versus 465.041 for June 2018, an increase of 2.2 percent.”

Royal said the rate change would change effective Oct. 1.

Councilwoman Alice Heard-Roberts asked if the city and WCA could negotiate, but was told not in accordance with the current agreement.

She and Councilman Russell Machann voted against the WCA increase, while the other council members voted to approve it.

All pickup service days and the items left curbside will be unaffected. These matters were not discussed by council.

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