Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dispelling the myth: water rates higher in Laredo. McAllen is drinking our Lunch!

Someone over at La Sanbe suggested that some fact checking was in order amid the city's all-encompassing fee increases. Not that Laredo bloggers don't already do that but let's be a bit specific.

Water rates

The following are the residential costs of water/sewer rates for the towns of Laredo, Texas and McAllen, Texas- they of our lunch eating fame.

Laredo, Texas  water/sewer cost for 10,000 gallons
Water - usage charge per 1,000 gallons*

up to 2,000 gallons                                 = 8.20
2,000-4,000 gallons *  (2 x 1.60 )          = 3.20
4,001-10,000 galloons*(6x 1.71) =         10.26     
              total water                                                    21.66

up to 2,000 gallons                                =8.50
2,001-4,000 gallons (2x 2.77)               =5.54
4,001-10,000gallons (6x2.82)              =16.96
            total sewer                                                     31.00 

Laredo total water & sewer 10,000 gallons                    =    52.66

McAllen, Texas water/sewer cost for 10,000 gallons
Water  base fee                                    =4.00
0-10,000 gallons  (10 x 1.30)             =13.00
                total water                                            =17.00

Sewer base fee                                   =9.00
0-10,000 gallons (10 x1.30)             =13.00
             total sewer                                              =22.00

McAllen total water & sewer 10,000 gallons                       = 39.00

Laredo water/sewer rates a whopping 30 % higher than McAllen's  & still rising


  1. WOW! This research should in fact change the world. Thanks for taking the time to do this. We should all look out for the pennies while the dollars roll on by. Thanks again.

  2. We all need water. It should be very inexpensive. The city is selling water to companies that truck and resell it to oil companies and they are getting the water much less expensive than residents. .

    Want to know part of the problem? How much do you think the highest paid person in the city's water department makes per year? 58K? 74K? 91K? 118K? 129K? 140K?

    Get the answer here.
    Click City, type "water" in department, and sort from highest to lowest salary. This is partly why our water bills are so high.

    The other part is be because we practically give it away to oil companies so they can frack away and the city paints this picture that we are growing and using more water so we need to increase fees and build for more capacity. Did I miss anything?

  3. Once again, the fee increases are not for fracking, or any other reason than the city is paying 66% of its revenue to support the police and fire departments, and that percentage is increasing every year.

  4. Tom, you should be willing to at east concede that if the city charge the fracking companies more (like other cities do) then, perhaps there would be an bigger stream of revenue from that source- and perhaps- less need to raise the fees for the most basic of our services.

    Another point is - the city should stop comparing Laredo's fees ONLY when it's convenient. Our water rates are higher- so are they going to use that fact to justify lowering our water rates? Nope.



  6. Max, I am not sure what the city charges for fracking, construction, or other special use water. I do agree if we are giving it away, we should fix that.

    But again, you all have to realize the politics of these fee increases. The public safety unions have taken over the city. The "only" way the city can keep from cutting other workers pay/benefits is to increase the tax rate, or cut the job position, or raise fees in the hopes that will fill the gap.

    The city brought in more revenue this year, yet they need to spend more money because of increase that they must pay to meet union contracts or promises. This is what will be the downfall of Laredo like so many other cities in the US.

    1. What I forgot to say was that the city council will not vote for a tax rate increase, nor do they want to cut jobs, so the fee increase is their last hope.

    2. Mr Wade please take the time to establish your premises for your comments. They are sorely lacking in fact.

  7. I have been studying water usage and the abuses being allowed by the city of Laredo for over a year. Municipal code 31-127 and municode 31-128 absolutely prohibits the resale of our water (potable) FOR ANY REASON. I presented these facts to the Laredo City Council with pictures and facts and figures and never received a reply from any council member. I contacted Councilman Perez and set up appointments to discuss and share these facts with him. HE HAS BEEN A NO SHOW AFTER AGREEING TO MEET ON 2 OCCASSIONS AND REFUSES TO RETURN MY CALLS. While we the citizens continue to pay outrages and ever escalating rates the city wants us to continue subsidizing the oil and gas industry. This has been presented to VIDA and I am currently working with other organizations to put a stop to this illegal practice. The rates currently paid by these companies is .0035 cents per gallon based on the contract they have signed with city. Their total cost for unlimited water usage is $430.00 per month, any time, any day, as much as they want. The city of Laredo is in deep doo-doo if they think they can continue to give away our water. Guess what fees did not increase? Commercial water usage. You will soon realize how deep and how far this corrupt action by our own city leaders goes. By the way according to Councilman Perez this was approved by City Manager Carlos Villarreal.

  8. Anon, Sept 10...what facts are you wanting to see? I have taken the percentage spent on public safety directly from the 2013 city budget (page 13 summary).

    And I have talked with city council members, both past and present, and they agree that the unions control the city. Yet, they cannot get elected without them. Thank you low voter turnout.

    What other facts are you interested in?

    1. Mr. Wade,
      I was referring to your quick dismissal of facts involving violations of Municodes 31-127 and 31-128 by our very own city. Doesn't it bother you that our city is in violation of it's own code and in so doing is basically giving away millions of dollars in potential revenue? Revenue that could be used to improve infrastructure and reduce fees to our citizens like we're seeing now. Why is the city involved in selling water anyway? What do we stand to gain except rutted roads and spills of toxic cargo on our streets and highways that WE pay for to clean up and repair. Let me share some math with you:
      1 vacuum truck fully loaded with water amounts to 130 barrels of water (1 barrel is 42 gallons) and at the current rate amounts to 14.7 cents per barrel. These companies are then reselling our treated water for anywhere between .65 cents up to 1.25 per barrel. Let's average this to .95 cents per barrel.They're making $123.50 less their cost of $19.11 equals to $104.39 profit. The cities of Catarina, Cotulla, Encinal, and others in the Eagle Ford are selling their water from between .75 cents to 1.50 per barrel and shut down occassionally to allow their water tables to rise. The city should do 1 of two things, either shut these violations down or amend the codes and sell water at the going rate like other cities are doing. If 300 vacuum trucks pay the going rate of let's say .75 cents per barrel each per day the amount would equal to $29,250.00X 365 days =$10,676,250.00. That sir is how much in additional revenue stream the city is giving away and they have the audacity to raise fees on our citizens. You can argue politics all you want Mr. Wade but facts are facts and you should at the very least protest this practice through your councilman and see how far it doesn't get you, becuase they'll pretend their not aware of it. Nice chatting with you!

    2. First off, how can anyone claim a "quick dismissal" of anything on one of these blogs, when it takes hours to respond and get responses.

      But beyond that, I never dismissed your concerns about the water code. I am not familiar with the water code, and like you, would be pissed if the city is violating it's own codes and ordinances. I would contact the Webb County District Attorney, and see if some municipal code law may be being broken.

      My main point about the fee increases is the politics behind them. Not necessarily the substance. It could take days to dissect each increase and why or why it should not be done.

      I am, like you, concerned about the water usage in this area. Sometime in the future, which we need to prepare for now, we will have a shortage of water for the population. The issue needs to be addressed.

      Your point about the cost to clean up a spill on the highway is understood, and it should be noted the city and state "do" charge for these clean ups. I don't know the rate, but they have methods to collect fees.

    3. And as a side note, you need to rethink you profit numbers in your statement. I would bet they would have to sell the water for much more money than you state. Just the diesel cost alone to travel 200 miles is around $100.00, not including the cost of the driver, truck, and overhead.

      Most likely, the company needing the water is buying it directly, and paying for transportation, at around $2 per mile, or $400.00 for a round trip truck.

    4. My point exactly sir,and I wouldn't double down on this bet. 200 miles is way beyond San Antonio. If someone is sending their fleet to fill up in Laredo to deliver outside the county is ludicrous and should be fired. Again you have not answered the underlying question and concern and why this obvious violation has not been addressed. Wrong is wrong. Either help me or get the f+++ out of the way!

  9. First off, how am I in your way? And second, you said you have been working on this for sometime. What do you think I can do that you have not done already?

  10. Thank you both for sharing this information. I was already smelling something fishy when it comes to the water bills in Laredo. If the above comments are all true then there is corruption in the water department.

    I hope the city major looks at this and decides this is not good for Laredo,and does something to better Laredo in the area of water bills. We all want a better city and a big responsibility falls on the city officials hopefully we elected the right people,it remains to be seen.