Travis County

Agenda Item

Consider and take appropriate action to increase the bulk water supply sales price to full cost recovery. (Commissioner Gómez)


Department:CC Agenda requestSponsors:
Category:General Government

Meeting History

Aug 13, 2019 9:00 AM Video Commissioners Court Voting Session
draft Draft

Members of the Court heard from:

Charles Bergh, Division Director, Parks, TNR

Cynthia McDonald, County Executive, TNR

MOTION: Approve Item A2.


AMENDMENT: To be effective October 1, 2019.

MOVER: Sarah Eckhardt, County Judge


Clerk’s Note: A Vote on the Standing Motion was taken.

MOVER:Brigid Shea, Commissioner
SECONDER:Gerald Daugherty, Commissioner
AYES:Sarah Eckhardt, Brigid Shea, Gerald Daugherty
ABSENT:Jeffrey W. Travillion Sr, Margaret J. Gómez


Aug 13, 2019 9:00 AMCommissioners CourtVoting Session


9:51 AMThat passes unanimously. Thanks so much.
Thank you all.
Let's go to a2. consider and take appropriate action to increase the bulk water sales price to full cost recovery.
Good morning, judge, commissioners. Charles burr with parks and i've got janet kohl's our planning project manager. And we're here to talk about our fees for bulk water service, which is currently issued out of the former satellite 4 office off 183 south. We looked at our fee structures and realized that we needed to adopt more of aggressive fee structure, full cost recovery. We looked at the personal costs, ofice supplies, utilities and tallied those all up and came up with a new rate of $12. 28 per hundred gallons. We are currently charging -- we have a rate structure of 25 cents per hundred for residential properties and 50 cents per hundred for commercial properties. And there's really no way -- first that rate structure doesn't capture our actually costs and there's no way for us to delineate between residential and commercial property -- commercial buyers. Our recommendation is to go full cost recovery at one fee and that's 12. 28 per hundred.
9:53 AMI move approval and I have comments.
We have a motion. do we have a second?
We don't want to wait for margaret? We're fine with this?
I didn't think she was coming today.
She's not.
My understanding is that we want to move on this fairly quickly to begin the process of essentially weeding out the commercial operators who are accessing this water nearly for free. I mean if the actual cost is $12. 28 and we are charging 25 cents, we know that a number of the users, and we can't exactly ferret out at this point how many are simply taking advantage of the situation. We also know there's a community of genuine need. It's horrifying to realize that in this wealthy community that we have people who literally don't have water to their homes. And so they are some of that population. And we have a plan for dealing with hardship cases. But right now we can't sort out who the freeloaders are and the people with general kin need. We've got a plan allowing for hardship cases and assisting in those situations, but we're looking at an enormous cost to the county of providing water to people to people who are using it for commercial purposes and either reselling it or using it as part of their business and we should not be forcing our taxpayers to subsidize that. My understand this was the first step in beginning to sort out the people taking advantage of the situation versus those who general we knowly need the water.
9:54 AMI'm not in disagreement with you, commissioner.
We also are looking at a budget proposal of almost a half a million dollars or more with regard to this situation so I -- my understanding is we need to take action. Do this sooner rather than later. I did have a brief conversation with Commissioner Gomez letting her know we were bringing this item back, she did sponsor the item, she's well affair it's on today's scent and we will have -- agenda and we will have further discussions about the long-term services that we do or do not provide.
9:55 AMWell, it's almost 10:00. let's get it done by 10:00. I mean if you want to move fast, second. Get out there, you got two minutes before 10:00. Somebody is probably out there right now getting a bunch of gallons.
When will the rate change go into effect?
That's the question we want to ask you, the court. We would recommend October 1st. We have to put out signs and give notice, and we could do% it sooner, but that's -- you know, there is a user base that relies on that water and that would give us time to work out the -- the connection detail between those of need with hhs that can help us kind of drive that part of the solution.
9:56 AMWill that timetable give us the ability to also make a decision about the budget item? Because that's the other thing that's pending here, that's another substantial cost to the county. So that will work for our decisions with regard to the budget?
I believe so. we will be coming back to talk a bit more next week and then it is also on august 22nd as part of the budget hearings. So I would hope that we would be able to come up with a resolution by then. I also wanted to point out that, you know, in doing so, this pricing is actually in line with all the other providers that are out there. We're not -- this is not, you know, an unwieldy amount. It is actually right around the median. So there are some providers that are slightly less, and then there are some that are slightly more.
The difference is those providers actually take the water directly to the residents.
And we do know that some people are doing that, they are filling up on water at our tap and taking it and selling it to people.
9:57 AMReselling it.
So we have a motion and second. Does the moveant and the second consider it friendly to add to the motion that the new pricing will take effect at the beginning of our budget year, which is October 1st?
That's your intent with the notices and the signs and that kind of thing. And you'll be including information on the signs about how people can apply for hardship if they are unable to pay.
Well, we can't put that on the signage just yet because we need to work those details out with the court as to what that really looks like. But we will be notifying them of the rate change effective -- and then once we get further direction from the court, we can certainly put up additional information.
When would you intend to put the signs up?
We can start putting up the notice this week.
I think they should go up as soon as possible because I think it will flesh out the people that are commercial operators who are just taking advantage of very low priced water.