EPWater presents FY2023-24 budget proposal

EPWater presents FY2023-24 budget proposal
Posted on 11/30/2022
FY23-24 budget is presented to the Public Service Board.

A record water and wastewater Capital Improvement budget to boost reliability and water supply is critical to address El Paso Water’s urgent infrastructure needs, said President and CEO John Balliew.

El Paso Water staff presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2023-24 Water/Wastewater and Stormwater budgets to the Public Service Board on Nov. 29. If approved by the PSB on Jan. 11, customers will see an increase of $9.03 per month on the typical residential bill for water, wastewater and stormwater charges, which totals about a 13% increase over last year’s bill.

“Every year, we survey our customers and ask about their preferred budget priorities,” Balliew said. “Overwhelmingly, they said reliability, water supply and flood control.”

A combination of inflation, as well as hiring and retention challenges, also contributed to the increase, Balliew said. The utility’s funding priorities focus on the following:

  • Reliability - $428 million: Water and wastewater pipes, tanks, plants and pump stations are overdue for replacement and rehabilitation.
  • Water supply - $53 million: Well rehab and new well construction are included, as well as the Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project in northeast El Paso.
  • Flood control - $70 million: Projects focus on new ponds and improvements to existing ponds and drainage pipes.

The largest single proposed investment will go to the 31-year-old Roberto R. Bustamante Wastewater Treatment Plant, which requires a crucial capacity increase because of burgeoning growth on the city’s East Side. The plant treats 39 million gallons a day but must expand to 51 million gallons a day. The estimated costs over five years total $730 million.

To ease the impact of rate and fee increases, Balliew and utility staff also urge customers to expand their water conservation efforts.      

“I want to reiterate that water conservation saves money,” Balliew said.

EPWater also proposed the following affordability measures for the PSB to consider:

  • The Water Supply Replacement Charge is waived for customers using less than 4 CCFs monthly. An average of 48,000 low-water users currently take advantage of the waiver each month and may be eligible for an updated waiver of $14.04 a month.
  • An increased water volume from 4 CCFs (2,990 gallons) to 5 CCFs (3,740 gallons) included in the monthly minimum charge: An additional estimated 18,000 customers may save $6 a month.
  • Shifting infrastructure costs in outlying areas to those who benefit from it: The Sustainable Infrastructure Surcharge is a fixed monthly fee determined by meter size that will apply only to NEW metered homes and businesses. The SIS will not apply to existing EPWater customers.

Some concerns were raised about the impact of the new surcharge. For the typical residential customer who requires a ¾-inch meter, the proposed SIS would amount up to $59 added onto their monthly water bill if approved.

PSB members expressed concern on the size of the surcharge and asked EPWater staff to provide them with two SIS alternatives to review at the Dec. 14 meeting. One option is a flat fee that would apply to all meter sizes, and the other a percentage proposal.

The board will vote on the FY2023-24 budget, including rates and fees, at their meeting Jan. 11. If approved, the budget, rates and fees will go into effect at the start of the fiscal year, beginning March 1.

Proposed Budget and Rate Information

Watch the video and review the presentation.

Click here for a pdf of the Powerpoint presentation shared with the PSB.

Public Comment Opportunities

  • Members of the public who wish to comment on the proposed budget and rates are invited to attend the Dec. 14 or Jan. 11 PSB meetings and sign up to speak during the public comment.
  • Comments may also be emailed to [email protected] through Jan. 10. Written comments will be summarized and presented to the board at the Jan. 11 meeting, when the PSB will make a final determination on the budget and rates.

El Paso Water | All Rights Reserved | Powered by CivicLive | © PowerSchool Corporation