The talk around town is that the City of Devine raised Water and Sewer Rates because we took over the Golf Course and need money to run it. I would like to set the record straight!
The Rates were increased for the asbestos project which we started back in June of 2016. We held several Public Hearings and Meetings for citizens to come give their input. One of the questions we asked was whether to do this project in phases or just doing it as one large project. The few people who attended our meetings voiced the opinion that we should take out all asbestos lines as soon as possible.
We want the citizens to understand that because we had a high reading, TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) required us to implement a plan on changing out these asbestos lines. TCEQ required us to send out Notices (using their wording) to all our Utility Customers notifying them of the high read. We have had normal readings since that last high reading.
The City decided to apply for a grant/loan with the Texas Water Development Board to solve this asbestos problem. In applying for this grant/loan, it was a requirement by the Texas Water Development Board and TCEQ to do a Water/Sewer Rate Study. We hired a company that specializes in doing these studies. This is how we arrived at the Rate Increase. We received approval for a grant/loan for $9.9 million on March 1, 2018.
We want everyone to understand that this project is supported by the Water & Sewer Fund Only and not the General Fund. The Golf Course is a General Fund Department.
We acquired the Golf Course on August 1, 2018 after we held a public hearing on the Golf Course and received citizens’ input.
Even with the City acquiring the Golf Course, we still did not have to increase the tax rate; instead, we even lowered it. We cannot use the Water and Sewer Fund to support the General Fund.
Therefore, as you can see, the talk around town is just THAT – and people not having the true facts!
Mayor William L. Herring