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Apartment dwellers push back on water rate hike

From Prime Property:

The Houston Apartment Association is urging its members to resist the city’s proposed water and sewer rate hikes that, in their current form, would hit apartment tenants much harder than single-family homeowners.

In a blog entry on its Web site, the association wrote:

Based on the City of Houston’s own Rate Study Executive Summary, for single family homeowners to fully pay for future services – including capital improvement costs – it would require a 42.7% increase in their fees alone. The City has only suggested a 12.5% increase in single family rate costs, while increasing all other rate classes to make up for this inequity. HAA understands that this would unfairly put the burden on apartment residents.

Please help us to encourage Mayor Annise Parker and Houston City Council Members to understand how such a proposal would negatively impact Houston’s apartment industry and its more than one million residents, by sending emails, writing letters or making phone calls. We have included a sample letter for industry professionals and residents below.

City officials said increasing water and sewer rates is essential to keep Houston’s drinking water safe. But the multi-family aspect of their proposal might change before it is presented to the City Council for approval, they said.

My understanding is that the rate structure was based on the cost of delivery of water service to different groups – single family dwellings, multi-family dwellings, commercial, industrial, etc. Given that apartment dwellers tend to be lower income, and given that apartment living is by its nature less water-intensive – no lawns to maintain, at least by the individual residents – it would be fine by me if things were tweaked so that less of this burden accrues to these people.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for helping us get the word out on this unfair proposal! We’re looking forward to meeting with the City before this proposal goes any further.

  2. Deborah Holter says:

    How about a class action law suit? I saw on the news that apartment residents are considered wasteful, and that being part of the reason for an increase. That is so opposite of the truth, that the official who said it should be called on the lie. This is so bogus that it stinks like sewer water running out of the city council offices.

    Apartment residents aren’t the ones watering their lawns or having sprinklers run twice a day while hundreds of gallons of wasteful use runs down the sewer. Apartment residents are not washing cars in their drives while the wasted water runs into the sewers. Apartment residents aren’t wasting water while they hose the kids down for hours while they play on a slippy slidy in the back yard. Apartment residents aren’t watering down the sides of buildings like homeowners water down their houses to save a foundation, or just to cool down the walls. Apartment residents aren’t filling swimming pools either, but homeowners sure are. Apartment residents often don’t even have a washing machine.

    So, the way I see it, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt a boldfaced lie and a bad excuse to discriminate against a large segment of the population who conserve more, use less, and have less money to spend.

    It is DISCRIMINATION. If I take a photo of a kitchen faucet with water running in an apartment, and a picture of a faucet with water running in a house, can you tell the difference? Does it still look like the same water ? If I fill a gallon jug from an apartment, and a jug from a house and present them to city council and the mayor, can they tell me which one is which? Would they actually have the audacity to claim that the jug on the left has to be more expensive than the jug on the right, only because it is on the left? Oops, the one on the left came from a house. What will they do now?

    These people are discriminating. It’s time for them to face the threat of a class action lawsuit, with the million plus citizens of Houston’s apartments standing firmly against them.

    And to our city officials, if you attempt this, don’t bother running for office again. It is more likely you will be run out of town riding a jug of water, the proposed expensive apartment variety.

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