Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
2 minutes
Read so far

City to overhaul utility base rates

January 11, 2023 - 00:00
Posted in:
  • Article Image Alt Text

The Navasota City Council held a workshop Jan. 9 to discuss the results of the City of Navasota Water, Wastewater and Natural Gas rate study conducted by NewGen Strategies & Solutions. Representing NewGen was Managing Partner Matt Garrett. Council members Grant Holt and Pattie Pederson were not present.

In his opening remarks, City Manager Jason Weeks clarified that the discussion of utility rates applied to the operational costs only – the water, sewer and natural gas base rates and volume metric base rates – not to CIP (capital improvement projects), street and drainage fees, Republic Services or the natural gas cost portion.


TCEQ compliance a priority

Delving into the necessity for base rate increases, Weeks said, “We’re in the process of doing some major CIP projects related to the water tower, the water plant itself as well as trying to do a water well. There are some pressure issues around the high school area and just a little bit on the west side of Highway 6.”

He continued, “That’s not the primary reason for us doing the water tower. The primary reason is because TCEQ says for every water connection, you’ve got to have ‘X’ amount of storage in the water tower.”

Weeks said, “With Pecan Lakes and Hidden Hills coming on and proposals for all the other connections, if we do not get something built very quickly, we’re going to be in violation of TCEQ. That’s the primary reason. We’re running really close with Phase IV and that’s about the max. After that, we’ve got to add storage for water.”

According to Weeks, more connections can’t be allowed without additional water storage, or the City would incur penalties. It was mentioned that some neighboring cities have placed moratoriums on home construction.

He added that an additional regulator station and the Pecan Lakes gas loop are necessary to maintain gas pressure there.


Five-year forecast

In his presentation, Garrett praised the City’s history of taking rate action. Reviewing existing debt, projected new debt, cash and grants and the need for each utility fund to be self-sustaining, the study estimated $12 million in CIP projects by FY 2026.

Garrett touched on the principle of ‘inter-generational equity’ with future users sharing the cost of improvements and the anticipated need for eight new technicians in the next five years in the water, wastewater and gas departments.

The study recommends customers with larger meters paying a higher base rate as well as a four-tier volume rate in which customers who use more water will pay more. He also advised that conservation measures would best be served with a price differential of 25% between tiers instead of the current proposed 10%.

According to the study, only 8% of customers use less than 15,000 gallons per month. Based on gallon usage, the tiers would be broken down as follows: 0-2,000, 2,001-5,000, 5,001-15,000 and 15,000 and above.


Scenario options

While no action was taken at the workshop, council members are tasked with choosing between one of two scenarios. 

Scenario 1 recommends no rate changes until October 2023 and includes a 50%-meter equivalency factor and four-tier structure to residential. 

Beginning in October, the base rate for water would increase 16.9%; wastewater, 37.7%; and natural gas, 13.1%.

Scenario 2 recommends a 50%-meter equivalency factor to commercial in March and residential in October, followed by the four-tier structure in October. 

The base rate beginning in March for water would increase 8.3%; wastewater, 17.5%; and natural gas, 10.5%. In October, the base rate for water would increase 14.4%; wastewater, 17.5%; and natural gas, 10.5%.

The rate changes will be a council agenda item amending the ordinance related to fees. A public hearing is not required.

View city council meetings in their entirety at