NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Unseasonable rains this year means homeowners watered their lawns less than usual, or not at all. A lower water bill is nice, but it's not so good for city budgets.
It's mid-July, and the summer time sound of yard sprinklers in neighborhoods is just now being heard. Music to the ears of city managers.
"We're finally starting to see an increase in sales for the summer," said Jim Jeffers, Nacogdoches' city manager.
Water sales for the fiscal year are down about one-million gallons. That's a reduction of about 5 percent. The same sort of thing happened the previous fiscal year. So what happens next?
"We'll be looking at a rate increase for water and sewer, as well as probably sanitation," Jeffers said.
Don't blame a rate increase just on the rain. In Nacogdoches revenue is needed to pay for recent improvements to water wells, higher operating costs, and the downside of becoming drought proof.
"Conservation typically results in a rate increase," Jeffers said. "That's a truism. If you encourage conservation, and you have to have x number of dollars in order to operate your system, then you're going to see an increase in rates."
It happened last year when water rates went up 10 percent. Ironically, a decline in revenue happened because of the unseasonable rains.
Water usage brings in revenue to city coffers, but city leaders still encourage water conservation. State guidelines will mandate cities to become drought proof.