Phoenix water rates are set to rise later this year

Phoenix City residents saw their water bills spike over the next two years.

Last week, Phoenix City Council passed a measure aimed at increasing water rates by 6.5% by 2022. The first increase – a 3% increase – will take effect later this year on October 1st. The second – an increase of 3.5% – will take place in March 2022.

According to official information, the increase “only applies to the water volume fees charged for water consumption above the allowance amount included in the fixed monthly service”.

Households that maintain their water use within these allowances would not be affected under the approved plan.

Officials estimate that around 40% of the households served in Phoenix keep monthly water consumption below these allowable levels. The typical residential allowance is about 10,000 gallons per month, according to the city.

It is estimated that the average single family home customer will see an increase of about $ 2.40 per month.

Proponents of the measure say more money needs to be generated to improve and replace the city’s aging infrastructure, and economic development within city limits is tied to water.

“(We need to) upgrade and replace the city’s water infrastructure,” said Mike Huckins, spokesman for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “We are now on the path and consider it important to complete the process in the next few years.

“… Even without water there will be no economic development. Regardless of the supply, if we do not have the infrastructure to supply residents and companies with water, it is of no use to us. “

Last week’s move wasn’t the first time officials approved an increase in the water rate. City councils have approved an increase of six over the past seven years.

In 2019 and 2020, city councils approved a 6% increase in each of those years. Before that, water rates rose 2% in 2017.

Since January, officials have given 16 presentations of the Ahwatukee to Estrella village planning committees, where question-and-answer sessions were held.

In a promotional video, Phoenix Water Services deputy director Troy Hayes said officials needed help with aging infrastructure, which includes water pipes, sewage treatment plants, pumps, reservoirs and wells.

Officials estimate that tariff changes will generate $ 29.5 million in the first full fiscal year after the tariffs go into effect.

“The main reason we are increasing the water rate is to deal with the infrastructure we currently have in the aging soil,” said Hayes. “We have to either refurbish or replace this infrastructure so that it will be reliable for decades.”

At the ordinary council meeting on March 17, Vice Mayor Thelda Williams was the first to approve the measure. The request was answered with 6-3.

Councilor Sal DiCiccio, an opponent of the rate hike, voted against the current measure.

“At some point the city of Phoenix will drive out the middle class because they pay those water bills,” DiCiccio said. “We will drive out the business world.

“This is crazy – this constant increase in everything in public. I’m going to vote no to that – because sooner or later it will reach a point of no return. We are nearly there.”

Councilor Carlos Garcia said the measure needed to be passed. He voted for the rate change.

“It’s a tough decision,” said Mr Garcia. “But we have to do one.”

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Brent Ruffner

Reporter | Anthem &
Phoenix | [email protected]

Journalism has fascinated Brent Ruffner since junior high school.

His stories have been featured in newspapers from Albuquerque to Arizona since 2001, and he has always had a knack for making sure his facts are correct and his words get to the point.

Growing up, Brent watched sports reporters cover his beloved Phoenix Suns, a team he has followed since Charles Barkley came to Phoenix via trade in 1992. Sports coverage was a dream back then.

After gaining some writing experience, Brent found a penchant for the news rather than covering various sports. In 2008, he moved to New Mexico, reporting on crime, schools, and city beats while holding elected officials accountable.

He covered stories that ranged from a DEA drug bankruptcy to an award-winning story about school lunches.

Based in Arizona, Brent was a freelance writer covering everything from the importance of citrus fruits in the state to Esteban who owned a business in downtown Prescott.

Brent is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Twitter: @AzNewsmedia

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