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Falls City, Texas considers privatizing
water/wastewater operations


Brian K. Murphy 17.SEP.03
FALLS CITY —
Privatization?

In August, the council received bids on the privatization of the services from the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) and U.S. Filter. Since they took no action then, the matter came up again last week.

SARA’s bid came in at $116,067. That included $73,493 for the maintenance and operation of the town’s water and wastewater systems; $20,009 for providing street repairs and maintenance; $20,059 for park maintenance and repairs; and, $2,506 for miscellaneous services.

U.S. Filter’s bid was $148,900. That included $122,436 for the maintenance and operation of the town’s water and wastewater systems; $14,464 for providing street repairs and maintenance; $9,300 for park maintenance and repairs; and, $2,700 for miscellaneous services.

With one month still remaining in Falls City’s current fiscal year, the town has spent $140,225 to maintain its water and sewer system. It also spent $9,763 on street repairs and maintenance, according to municipal records.

"I’m not ready to make a decision tonight," Jendrusch said after Malone asked for a motion on the matter.

"I’d like to have a town-hall meeting," said Houdmann. "I’d like to hear what the townspeople have to say about privatization."

"Do you think more people would turn out for a town-hall meeting than turn out for a council meeting?" asked Malone.

"If it focuses on privatization, I think people might turn out," Houdmann said.

Some audience members suggested having the town meeting and if people don’t show up, at least they would have been given the opportunity.

"I think a town-hall meeting sounds like a good idea," said Richard Danysh. "But most of us need to see some numbers."

The council agreed to prepare a comparison of the two bids and the amount the town currently spends on the same services. They also agreed to advertise the meeting by mailing out notices or leaving them in prominent local businesses.

In other action, the council unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance amending the town’s water, sewer, and refuse fees.

Water rates were increased to $18 for the first 3,000 gallons of water used from $13.50 per 3,000 gallons used. The rate for additional water re-mains at $1.50 per 1,000 gallons used.

Sewer rates were increased to $12 for the first 3,000 gallons used from $11 for the first 3,000 gallons used. Additional usage remains at $1.80 per 1,000 gallons used.

Refuse rates increased to $12.50 for the first trash cart from $10.92 for the first trash cart. The charge for additional trash carts remains at $5 per cart.

brian@wcn-online.com

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- Wilson County News