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People in Hillsboro could see a spike in their water bill, with businesses paying the bulk

Posted at 7:26 AM, May 17, 2024

HILLSBORO, Texas (KXXV) — “Why would we pay more if we haven’t been here our whole lives for 30 years?" Jorge Sori said.

It’s a question that puzzles Jorge Sori and his mother. She's owned YaYa’s place in Hillsboro for the past five years.

They heard of the city's plan to raise water rates, with businesses possibly paying more than residents.

“Everything is rising up in price and stuff, plus this water is going to affect her a lot more too since that’s what we use. We use up a lot of water too," Sori said.

I sat with the city manager of Hillsboro to figure out where the problem started.

“In the last couple of decades the city has declined to really take a deep look at water revenues," said Megan Henderson, City Manager for the City of Hillsboro.

And when they looked, they found a massive water bill that snowballed over decades. Henderson said residents paid a lower water rate for years and that can’t happen anymore.

“Approximately $13 per thousand gallons of cost. Right now, we are charging roughly $5 per thousand gallons. We cannot be underwater by that much money and stay in business," Henderson said.

Sori said paying more means scary adjustments for him and his family.

“That forces us to raise our prices and it impacts our customers. It’s too high, too high," Sori said.

So here's what the city is considering to get things back on track: Residential users could see a 15% increase. Meantime, commercial users could possibly see their rates jump by more than 60%.

To fix the longtime problem, Henderson said the city must first figure out how to meet a revenue requirement of $7.8 million a year. The second is figuring out how to fairly share the cost among customers and set up a structure that increases revenue while spreading out the cost.

Sori tells me his family isn't sure what the city should do but he knows it won't be easy for people in the community to pay more.

“So far we’ve always been consistent with the water bill but if it starts to rise up more then it’s obviously going to be a problem," Sori said.