HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — During the scorching Texas summers, people tend to use more water, but even more consumption can’t explain the abnormally high water bills in Hutto.
Homeowner Heather Welch received a water bill for $250 for the month of August. Her July bill was more than $300. “It’s absolutely absurd, it makes living in Hutto unaffordable,” says Welch.
The city of Hutto signed a contract with Heart of Texas Water Suppliers in 2004, anticipating growth. That growth slowed and now the city is paying for more water than it’s using. “Currently today, we’re using about 800,000 gallons a day for water — our citizens are. We pay for 2 million gallons of water a day,” explains Hutto City Manager Odis Jones.
He calls the city’s water contract the worst they can find in Texas.
Jones has a plan to stabilize rates. The city is negotiating a deal to buy the water supply system from Heart of Texas, so Hutto can control its own water. That means no more immediate rate spikes, like the one the city saw in June.
The average water bill for a Hutto home in the month of June was $92. A 20 percent rate hike that was supposed to take effect in August would’ve added $18 to that bill, but that increase has been canceled.
“It’s going to stabilize it so that when residents come into the city and as the town continues to grow, we’ll be able to lower the rates,” said Jones.
“I’m hopeful about it. I think they need to do everything they can to get the rates lower because it’s unfair to the citizens of Hutto,” says Welch.
Buying the water system from Heart of Texas will cost the city $63 million, but the move is expected to save the city $200 million by getting out of the remaining 40 years of the contract.