2023 Utility Rate Changes
Planned Rate Changes to Implement the Integrated Water Resource Plan (IWRP) & Meet Subsidence District Mandates
City Council approved utility rate increases in September of 2022 to be effective January 1, 2023. Residents can expect to see the rate changes on bills issued after that date.
The city is committed to continuing to provide a high level of service while planning and preparing to meet future needs and expectations in order to maintain a financially sound, self-supporting utility system.
Rate Change Breakdown
Based on the rates approved by City council in September 2022, residential customers with 10,000 gallons of water usage and a 6,000 gallon winter average will pay $119.66 in 2023 compared to $112.84 in 2022- about $7 more per month. Residential customers with 5,000 gallons of water usage and 3,000 gallons winter average will pay $85.92 in 2023 compared to $80.88 in 2022- about $5.00 more per month.
Utility Cost Drivers and Facts
- 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. Water, wastewater, and surface water are provided to customers and charged based on usage and demand on the utility system. Monthly charges are dependent on meter size and water usage.
- 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 and made recommendations to meet the City's long term water needs, including groundwater reduction mandates.
- In FY21 the City completed a Utility Rate Study. Costs to operate have grown and rated 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.
- This is the third year of a 3-year plan recommended by City Council for rate increases to stabilize revenues for the utility and prepare for the 60% groundwater reduction mandate.
- The increase for water, wastewater, and surface water was reduced from the planned $10 increase down to $7.
- City Council has approved a new solid waste contract that will extend the City's partnership with Republic Services to provide residents and businesses in the area with unparalleled solid waste, green waste, bulky waste, and recycling services.
- The new contract goes into effect January 2023 and will include the additions of new technologies, more efficient solid waste routes, and a quicker way to get in touch with republic for on-call services and inquiries. Additionally, the new contract will decrease rates from $20 per month to $19.85, providing enhanced service for a lower rate. Examples of enhanced services are:
- In addition to having 12 flexible/on-call bulk waste days and three holiday bulk waste collections, residents will now also have the ability to have 12 landfill bulk drop-offs at no additional cost.
- Enhanced customer service requirements.
- Enhanced Republic Services App that will allow residents to do things like schedule bulk pickups, report missed collection, and track their trash truck.
- The approved Fiscal Year 2023 city budget includes a Stormwater Compliance Fee. The purpose of the fee is to pay for stormwater related activities. The State and Federal governments require municipalities to implement best management practices that reduce stormwater pollution to the maximum extent practicable. Our stormwater related activities are considered unfunded mandates. Unfunded mandates pass down standards and regulations from the State and Federal governments but do not come with the necessary appropriations or funding.
- To remain in compliance with these mandates, the Stormwater Compliance Fee will fund pollution prevention measures, community education, drainage system operations and maintenance, and other activities to control the quality of water discharged to the City's storm drains and waterways.
- The Stormwater Compliance Fee provides a sustainable and dedicated revenue source for operating the City's Stormwater Management Program. The Stormwater Compliance Fee is a new fee and separate from other line items on your monthly bill.
- The average resident will pay about $3 per month or about $36 per year.
- Average is based on 3,500 square foot home
- Residents can use the "Find My Stormwater Compliance Fee Tool" for a more exact estimate of their anticipated payment.
- More than 100 Texas cities use such a fee to fund citizen priorities. Thirty-two of the 40 cities with populations greater than 100,000 have stormwater fees.
- All residential and commercial customers will pay the stormwater compliance fee, except for governmental entities such as LIDs and schools.
- In comparison with 11 other similar/proximal cities, Sugar Land has the lowest overall residential cost (property taxes + utility bills + stormwater fee) even when comparing against cities that don't have a stormwater fee. https://www.sugarlandtx.gov/DocumentCenter/View/29777/img_ResidentialCostComparison
What is the Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP)?
Developed as a comprehensive plan with the goal of meeting increasing groundwater regulations in 2025, the IWRP allows the city to evaluate policies, management strategies, and capital improvement projects.
Understanding charges on your utility bill
Have you ever wondered what the items on your water bill mean? The "understanding your water bill" tool is an interactive way to learn about all the items listed on your monthly bill.