Wichita Falls City Council approves water bill increase

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Starting Oct. 1, Wichita Falls residents will see a rise in their water bill.

City council members were initially presented with a 9% increase, but that has changed after discussions. Instead of hitting the citizens with a big increase, they have elected to divide it into two years and split the increase to about 5%.

Inflation has had a big impact on everyone everywhere, but the water department might be taking the biggest hit in price increases regarding chemicals and materials.

READ: Wichita Falls City Council approves 2023 budget

On average, the price of chemicals used to clean and sanitize the water has doubled this year. The Wichita Falls Water Department has not had to raise citizens’ bills in eight years, but they had no other choice but to do so this year. However, city officials know the burden a 9% increase could pose on families, so they wanted to come up with that compromise to divide it into two years.

“We are probably not going to be able to do all they wanted to with the 5% increase, but it does help the citizens,” Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana said. “I hope the citizens appreciate that. “We did have a wish list on what we wanted to do with that money. With the chemical cost increase, all the other cost and inflationary costs that is really hitting the water department hard, it was tough but they came back to us and said we think we can make this work.”

With the approval on Tuesday a 5% increase to the average person’s water bill will equal around $3 more a month.

Chemical prices aren’t the only thing that has seen drastic increase. One linear foot of piping has almost tripled and now cost $300. So even with the increase, the city and water department will have to work with the money they have for future projects.