Back in April, Council approved a water rate hike. There were some complaints from apartment owners at the time about the size of the rate increase that would apply to them, and the city agreed to make some changes to accommodate them. The first of those changes was approved on Wednesday.
The first part, a two-year, $10 million conservation rebate program, will be used to give water rate rebates to owners of federally-financed, rent-restricted apartment complexes.
To qualify this fiscal year for the rebate, which will reduce the effective rate increase from 30.1 percent to 12.5 percent, apartment owners must coordinate a water conservation education program for tenants. To qualify in the second year, they must demonstrate water conservation of at least 5 percent. That would reduce the rate increase from 30.1 percent to 21.03 percent.
Mayor Annise Parker said the program was designed to help those owners because federal guidelines don’t allow them to pass on water rate increases to their tenants.
This is supposed to phase out after apartment owners have had a chance to adjust rents. The second part of this, about which I’m a bit unclear, will be taken up in the coming months.