The Eldorado City Council was prepared to listen to public opinion Monday evening, September 9th, as they held a public hearing on a proposed water rate increase, but no one from the public appeared.

The city is proposing an increase in the base rate for residential water from $22 to $27 per month. The revenue from the rate hike would be used to help pay off loans for the new water tower and other water service improvements.

It was noted that the city’s last water rate increase was in 2015 and the council discussed what would happen if they did not raise the rates. Tom Brown, a civil engineer with MRB Group told the council of a city south of Houston that refused to make the hard choices when it came to utility rates, and was forced into receivership. He said it took the city six years to become solvent again.

The council discussed the proposed water rate increase and the impact it might have on city residents, before voting to approve the rate hike.

The council then met with Permian Highway Pipeline representative Chris Wilson, who presented them with a $40,000 check. Half of the money will pay for the legal fees the city incurred while working out a right-of-way access agreement with the company. The remaining half will compensate the city for allowing the company to construct a 42-inch natural gas pipeline across a portion of the city’s landfill property.

Tom Brown then updated the council on construction of the new water tower on Southwest Main Street. He noted that the welds on the tank have been inspected four times and x-rayed. He said the ball-shaped 100,000-gallon tank will be painted at ground level, then lifted atop the tower.

Brown reminded the council that the city is under an enforcement order from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) because of inadequate overhead storage. The new tower and tower in the north part of town will be the same height and should serve to stabilize water pressure through out the town.

Brown further explained that TCEQ has requested that the paint on the city’s ground storage tank be tested. If no lead paint is found on the tank that was built in 1962, then the tank can be sand blasted and repainted. But, If lead is found, the council would then have to decide whether to incur the cost of abatement or replacing the tank.

The council authorized Brown to have the paint tested.

Utility Superintendent Floyd Fay reported several city streets have been paved including Big Lake Street, Old Dorris Street, Denny Street and the corner of Nance Street. The next street being repaired is in front of the school houses near the golf course. That street will be widened and paved.

Mayor George Arispe presided over Monday’s meeting with Council Members Paul Rebuck, Wayne McGinnes, Danny Halbert, Mack Redish, Vicki Farmer and Oscar Martinez in attendance.

The next meeting of the Eldorado City Council is slated for 6 p.m. on Monday, October 14th, in the council chambers at City Hall.