The fiscal year 2021 budget includes increases to water, wastewater and surface water rates beginning January 1, 2021. The utility system is self-supporting- meaning that no property taxes go toward operating the system. The utility system is supported through charges for services paid by users of the system.
Investments to meet the 60% groundwater reduction mandate and secure long term water supplies for the City were identified through the Integrated Water Resource Plan- completed with assistance from a task force made up of citizens. The final plan was adopted by City Council in 2019 after two years of work by the task force. The plan evaluated a portfolio of options made recommendations to meet the City's long term water needs, including groundwater reduction mandates.
A residential customer that uses 10,000 gallons of water with a 6,000 gallon winter average will see an increase to the monthly bill of approximately $10 for services billed after January 1, 2021.
Please note: based on historical consumption, our average residential customer uses less than 10,000 gallons and the citywide winter average is 5,880 gallons for 2020.
From 2011-2019, the City maintained stable water and wastewater rates, with increases to rates only for the 30% groundwater reduction mandate as the City's surface water treatment plant was constructed and brought into operation in 2014. The January 2020 rate increases were the first changes since January 2014. Costs of the system have grown and rates need to be increased to ensure the financial sustainability and stability of the system. As the City prepares to meet the 60% groundwater reduction mandate, funds need to be generated to meet bond coverage and set aside cash for construction of capital investments required to meet the mandate.
In the 2020 utility rate survey conducted by the Texas Municipal League, Sugar Land's utility bills ranked lower than the average for cities over 50,000 in population.
The City of Sugar Land takes pride in the financial resiliency of the utility system and through a strategic implementation plan will manage the mandated 60% groundwater reduction through use of over-conversion credits to delay capital investment as much as possible.
Effective January 1, 2021, residential solid waste rates will increase by 1.95% to $19.76 per month.