Confusion over New BexarMet Rates

From:  Lesley Wenger
To:      You                                                          June 27, 2007

 

Most of you have received your BexarMet bills with the new rates.  As you have observed, the bills are substantially higher than anything you have paid before.  This rate structure—touted as a decrease for low users—is in actuality a substantial decrease for commercial users, which homeowners are subsidizing.   It was created by BexarMet management for political reasons, in an attempt to influence the Legislature.  Fortunately the Legislature was not fooled.

 

HB 1565, authored by Rep. Robert Puente, passed with a unanimous vote by both the House and Senate—unprecedented for this type of bill.  The bill which became law on May 31st creates a Legislative Oversight Committee that has the power, if they do not see substantial improvement in the next few months, to put BexarMet into receivership.  Such an action would remove the current Board along with current management.

 

Those of you who read the Express-News are aware (primarily through Jaime Castillo’s columns—which can be accessed on MySA.com) that I have been extremely critical of BexarMet management—as per today’s Castillo column.

 

The rate increase was passed by the Board on April 23 with no public hearing, and no real notification.  For this and other reasons, I voted against the new rates, but unfortunately was the only one to do so.  Furthermore, State Law requires that ratepayers receive a 30 notice before new rates are instituted, but most residents received--at best--a 2-week notice in Aquafacts (the BexarMet newsletter).

 

You can access the new rates on BexarMet’s website (www.bexarmet.org), and should do so to check your bill.  Also, check to see how commercial rates were lowered, so that businesses are paying way less than homeowners.  Already complaints are pouring in as to the extent the bills have been miscalculated, and the lack of clarity on the Water Supply fee, which is not even listed, but which is definitely being charged.  When the Board voted for the rate change, the System Improvement fee was supposed to remain pretty much the same: a flat fee tied to the meter size.  The fact that it was converted to a Water Supply fee at $1.51/1000 gallons, and the name was changed without Board approval, has caused a lot of confusion.  It is reprehensible that BexarMet finds it necessary to continue to hide what they are charging.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Please take the time to send me an e-mail to: wengertx@satx.rr.com (do not use the BexarMet e-mail as it is likely to be deleted before I see it), with your complaints about your bill and/or the new rates.  I will deliver these to Rep Puente who will be heading the Oversight Committee.  You may also wish to write to the Express-News (letters@express-news.net).