By Rita Cook / The Ellis County Press
FERRIS – In a Special City Council meeting late last week, the Ferris City Council approved a water and sewer rate increase unanimously.
“The council approved the water and waste water rate increase last night, which residents will see on their September bill,” said Ferris City Manager Carl Sherman.
The water and sewer rate increase had been discussed, but not passed at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting earlier in July. Public hearings were held for both rate increases.
Staff said it recommended the city council consider implementing an adjustment in rates annually for the next five years in order to stay ahead of future costs.
The city’s water partners – Trinity River Authority and Rockett SUD have already provided the City of Ferris with an estimation of future water and waste water cost.
“The City of Ferris’ water and sewer systems are badly in need of repair and replacement in some areas of the city,” Sherman said prior to the meeting. “We are unable to do the necessary improvements without adjusting the rates.”
The City of Ferris had not increased rates in a number of years. Since that time the cost of purchasing water from Rockett SUD, as well as the cost of treating water with the Trinity River Authority had continued to increase.
“This has created an overall loss proposition for the city when providing the basic services to the community, which is unsustainable,” Sherman added.
The basic cost to residents on their water bill will be $25 including both water and sewer rates versus the current rate of $20.
“The Mayor and City Council have expressed great concern about the impact on our citizens and we have exhausted every effort to minimize the financial impact on our residence,” Sherman concluded. “That said, we believe we have presented the best scenario to reduce financial impact on each resident and at the same time fulfill our fiscal obligation to build and maintain a safe, reliable and quality water and waste water system.”