With just one dissenting vote, the Sealy City Council last week voted to increase utility rates.
In a brief meeting Oct. 10, the following rate hikes were approved on the first reading. A second reading is required for the ordinance to become effective. Councilman Larry Koy voted against the increases.
While a 10 percent increase was recommended by staff, Councilwoman Jennifer Sullivan said that would increase the monthly bill for some small business owners by $166. A 10 percent hike on residential bills would amount to about $2.46 per month.
“This was supposed to be a pass-through cost but because we never increased costs over the years we’re actually subsidizing businesses and residents,” Interim City Manager Warren Escovy explained, adding that city officials are looking into whether solid waste service provider Texas Disposal Systems is meeting performance standards and whether the city’s contract can be renegotiated.
“Whatever we do tonight, we need to do some really hard negotiating with this company,” Koy said. “I just can’t see raising rates … all the time. We’re getting farther behind.”
The city’s complete 2018 adopted budget is posted at http://www.ci.sealy.tx.us/.