A neighbor recently wondered what was going on with his water bill. I dug out a mailer that was included in our bill, which shows another increase. We are now on what appears to be a plan for annual increases, mostly because of a cost increase for the water the City purchases from the City of Houston.
In addition, revenue from our water bills is credited to the City Enterprise Fund, which normally produces a positive balance. In turn, funds from the Enterprise Fund are transferred to the General Fund to help fund the costs of running the City.
Finally, there has been no report fron Siemens on purported savings generated by the installation of automatic water meters in 2018 at a cost of $4.5 million dollars. As mentioned in that article, with constant rate increases how will we ever know if any savings have occurred. Find more information on that Siemens contract, paid from the $54 million dollar bond issue in 2016, here: Siemens – Where Do We Stand On The $12.8 Million Siemens Contract? See item vi, Increase In Water Revenue? Maybe one takeaway from this issue is to read the fine print in those bond issues, especially the cost of the annual debt service, currently about $9.5 million.
Of interest, since the installation of the new meters 898 meter registers (the things that register water usage) have been replaced, with another 153 on the replacement list. For now the cost of those replacement registers has been paid by Neptune Technology. The City paid $14,938 to the company that hosts the AquaHawk customer portal, and another $2,926 to Tyler Technologies to transmit updated information to the AquaHawk portal. Apparently no count is maintained for resident calls for leaks at the meters, nor the cost of Bellaire personnel called out for those leaks.