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N4T Investigates: New water costs - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigates: New water costs

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City of Tucson officials are getting closer to a vote on a series of rate increases that could affect your water bill for years to come.

The new plan would increase the average monthly bill from the current $35.20 to $47.54 by 2022.

An increase that would cost the average customer an extra $361.08 over the life of the plan.

"When we did our modeling and our projections this time around. We found we could bring future rate increases down and so we challenged ourselves to make them as low as possible and bring them down about a half a percent a year for the next four years," said Tucson Water Tim Thomure in a video posted to Tucson Water's website.  

Tucson Water officials have historically asked for rate increases between 7- 10%. The new plan calls for a rate increases of between 5-7%.

However, during a meeting earlier this year on the proposed plan, some Tucson city council members expressed concern about the growing costs.

"I'm worried about people not being able to afford all of these increases," said Tucson city councilmember Regina Romero.

The proposed plan would also increase service fees and reclaimed water rates.

Low income customers would also be able to choose what kind of plan they want to be on. Under the current plan low income customers are given  50% of their bill. The new plan would allow low income users to either keep their current plan or use a new plan that would give them the base rate plus 1,500 gallons for free.

"I think it sends the wrong message to say we are going to give away two hundred cubic feet of water to people. There are other ways we can address our low income users without sending the message that water is free in the desert," said councilmember Steve Kozachik at a meeting earlier this year.?

A public hearing on the new water plan is scheduled for May 22nd at Tucson City Hall.

If approved the new rates would start July, 2nd.

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