McAllen Public Utility raises water, sewer rates

McALLEN — Citizens and businesses here can expect higher utility bills after McAllen city leaders recently approved increases for local water and sewer rates.

Effective Oct. 1, customers’ monthly base fees for water and sewer services will each see 50-cent increases — this separately approved by McAllen City Commission and McAllen Public Utility during a joint meeting on Monday.

Since some meters are read on Oct. 13, some customers will see the increase reflected in that month’s bill.

According to a press release from the city, the water usage fee is also two-tiered with an increase not taking effect until the first 20,000 gallons of consumption.

MPU General Manager Mark Vega noted the funds generated from the increase will go toward debt and costs associated with facility upgrades. He also referred to the new rates as “a slight increase” in customers’ monthly bills.

“The rate increase helps to cover the costs of additional debt that the McAllen Public Utility will incur for improvements and construction costs related to the South Water Treatment Plant, the North Waste Water Treatment Plant and capital improvement projects,” Vega said in the release. “While we understand customers will feel a slight increase in their monthly service payment, the McAllen Public Utility rate is still one of the lowest in the Rio Grande Valley and even the state of Texas. The increase helps us to manage the growth McAllen is experiencing and provide not only quality service, but also and just as importantly, good clean water.”

Also, “high-end users” such as commercial establishments are expected to bear most of the impact of the new tiered structure, according to the release. For instance, a residential account with the average water consumption of 10,000 gallons will see a $1.60-increase in their water and sewer bill, the release read, further stating that rates were last raised for the utility service in 2015.

“Sometimes increases are necessary, and we wanted to make sure that the cost increase was fairly distributed to those that use more, pay more,” McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said in the release. “Any increase in service fees, whether they are base fees or usage fees, is something that both the McAllen City Commission and the McAllen Public Utility Board take seriously, because neither entity want to significantly impact customers.”

Call the McAllen Public Utility at (956) 681-1600, or (956) 681-1717 on the weekends, for more information.