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.