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Marble Falls raises tap connection fees

Marble Falls City Council on June 21, 2022

The Marble Falls City Council approved substantial increases to water and tap connection fees during its regular meeting Tuesday, June 21. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The Marble Falls City Council approved increases to tap connection fees during its regular meeting Tuesday, June 21. The decision was made to keep up with inflation.

“We’ve realized that the inflation of parts and materials has gone up dramatically,” Assistant Public Works Director Jay Everett told the council. “We wanted to make the cost to match what it physically costs us.”

According to officials, the city was losing money on its current fee structure, which was set in 2016. The increase in fees matches what surrounding communities charge for similar services.

Additionally, city leaders aimed to push back from contractors using municipal services and taxpayer dollars to subsidize development.

“We are not a for-profit organization, obviously,” Mayor Richard Westerman said. “It’s really about covering the cost. We’re trying to protect citizens who are not the developers bearing the cost.”

The new standard water tap and connection fee for city-installed ¾-inch meters is now $3,320.35 rather than $800. For 1-inch meters, the rate jumps from $900 to $3,335.35. 

Public Works staff will calculate fees for 1½-inch meters.

The city also set standard tap and connection fees for meters 2-4 inches, which previously were calculated by Public Works.

The new fee for 2-inch meters is $5,453.12. For 4-inch and compound 4-inch meters, the fee is $15,160.03.

Meters larger than 4 inches must be calculated by Public Works.

For contractor-installed meters, the fee increases are less aggressive.

The fee for a ¾-inch, contractor-installed meter is now $347.96, compared to the previous cost of $150. For 1-inch meters, the connection fee is now $387.96 rather than $225. The 2-inch-meter connection fee increases from $500 to $935.46.

Public Works staff will calculate fees for meters that are 1½ inches or larger.

The City Council also approve an increase for city-installed wastewater taps and connections from $800 to $2,073.91 for 4-inch taps and from $1,000 to $2,386.46 for commercial 6-inch taps.

While the city-installed fee increases are more than double previous rates in most cases, the impact might not be as significant. City officials noted Public Works installs far fewer taps than it once did as developers and contractors build subdivisions within Marble Falls.

“We used to install probably 90 percent of (taps),” Westerman said. “Now, it’s far less than that. In essence, the majority of what’s going on here when looking at these fees is contractor installed.”

The Marble Falls City Council’s next regular meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, in council chambers at City Hall, 800 Third St.

nathan@thepicayune.com