McAllen Commissioners Approve Hike in Utility Bills

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MCALLEN – City commissioners said the funds from a new fee will be used to fix the city's drainage system. One woman said her utility bill is already high enough.

San Juana Hernandez is a proud mother of six. She said she and her husband work very hard to provide a great life for their kids.

They moved into their house nine years ago and worked to make it a home. She said lately the beautiful garden she’s planted is starting to suffer.

“Cleaning, picking up the leaves, watering the plants like I was telling you, the water bill has been becoming expensive, and the plants are dying due to lack of water … I can’t waste too much water,” Hernandez explained.

Hernandez told CHANNEL 5 NEWS her family’s monthly water bill averages between $160 and $180 a month.

She said during certain months the family has difficulty making that payment. We caught her washing her car.

She said with an increase in the city’s utility bill coming in March, washing the car may become a luxury.

“It’s something to worry about, and it’s frustrating because you’re gonna have to stop paying on another service so that you can pay the water since the water bill has priority,” Hernandez explained.

We wanted to find out why the city decided to add the new utility fee. CHANNEL 5 NEWS met with McAllen city manager Roy Rodriguez. He explained the idea for the fee was created after several years of citizen surveys.

“Almost every time that we do the survey the last few times, the citizens have said, drainage and traffic. It has been identified as their biggest need, their biggest concern about needing improvement,” Rodriguez told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Rodriguez said the fee will be in place for eight years. It’s one of the ways the city plans on gathering a portion of the estimated $46 million to repair its drainage system.

He explained the city worked to keep the fees as low as possible for citizens.

“We think it’s a nominal fee at about $1.50 a month,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez explained only a few residents will pay over that amount. Hernandez told CHANNEL 5 NEWS she enjoys living in McAllen and is a fan of progress.

She said she hopes the city uses her hard earned money correctly.

Rodriguez explained the amount citizens will be charged will be derived from the amount of their impervious land.

He added that’s any land that cannot absorb water, such as a drive or the land your home sits on.

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