City Council approves water rate hike - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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City Council approves water rate hike

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Posted: Friday, February 25, 2011 11:00 am

Phoenix residents will pay more for water beginning April 1 in order to pay for bonds that were spent years ago.

In a 7-2 vote Wednesday, the Phoenix City Council approved a proposed change to the average water and sewer rate. According to the city's website, the change will cost the typical single-family customer $2.21 more each month.

The 7 percent increase will only affect water used.

"We have to protect taxpayers as best we can," said Vice Mayor Thelda Williams. "I don't think the city had a choice with the way it was set up over the years."

The increase will pay back bonds issued in the last five years for projects that have already been completed, such as repairing pipes and building a line to improve water pressure in Ahwatukee Foothills.

"We had to protect the bond rating," Williams said. "If it went down, interest would go way up and it would cost us millions."

Williams said the council also approved a review of the system. The council hopes to be able to decrease the rates this fall if some changes can be made.

Sal DiCiccio, who opposed the increase, says he doesn't believe this was the city's only option.

"My biggest concern is that it gives no immediate relief to taxpayers," he said.

DiCiccio said he wishes the city would have established a plan to save, instead of pushing back on taxpayers.

According to the agenda from Wednesday: "The proposed changes to the water rates are planned for March 2011 and are estimated to produce $22.9 million of additional revenue in the first full year."

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