Copperas Cove city council approves proposed utility rate increases, other fee changes
by LYNETTE SOWELL
Copperas Cove utility rates are increasing for water, sewer, solid waste collection, and the monthly drainage fee, after the Copperas Cove city council voted to approve the increases.
The new fees go into effect on Oct. 1 of this year.
A new tiered rate for water consumption means some customers’ bills will be lower than others.
Along with increases to the base rates for water and sewer, the recommendation from the city’s utility rate study was including “tiered” water rates.
This means, customers who use less than 5,000 gallons per month will pay a lower rate than others who use more.
The base water cost for residential water customers goes from $20 to $21.80 per month across the board.
Volumetric rates for water are currently $4 per 1,000 gallons of water.
With the new tiered system, residential utility customers who use 5,000 gallons of water per month would pay $4.36.
Customers using 5,001-10,000 gallons will pay $5.23 per 1,000 gallons.
Customers using 10,001 gallons per month and up, will pay $6.28 per 1,000 gallons.
Sewer rates go from $20 per month to $20.60 for residential customers.
The volumetric sewer rate goes from $4.85 per 1,000 gallons to $5 per 1,000 gallons.
The residential solid waste rate will be $25.25 per month for trash collection, up from $22.36 per month.
The monthly drainage fee goes from $7 per month to $9.
The new cost for the abovementioned base services for residential water and sewer, plus solid waste and drainage, is $76.65, prior to the addition of the water and sewer volumetric rates.
City facility rental fee changes
Other fees are going up as well, to include some fees for city facility rentals, such as the Copperas Cove Civic Center.
Full-day rentals, depending on the day, will also have “tiered” rates.
The current rental cost for the civic center is $250 for one day, from 7 a.m. until midnight.
With the new fee schedule, rental on Monday-Thursday will be $400 per day; rentals on Friday or Sunday will be $800; and an all-day rental on Saturday will be $1,000.
To rent the civic center for full weekend, Friday-Sunday, will cost $2,000.
The restoration fee will go from $40 to 10 percent of the rental cost.
The current kitchen fee would go away and be included in the cost of the overall rental and no longer be a separate fee.
A proposed new deposit for a civic center event where alcohol is served, would be $600.
At a prior workshop meeting, Jeff Stoddard, Parks & Recreation Director, explained the reason behind the $600 deposit for events that serve alcohol at the civic center: People don’t clean up after themselves at these events and would rather lose the $250 deposit.
Nonprofits will receive a 25 percent discount for civic center rental, for doing “mission events.”
For the Ogletree Gap pavilion, there are also fee changes. Monday-Friday rental of the pavilion will be $200, the current fee. However, to rent the facility on a weekend day the cost will be $400.
The city anticipates an additional $12,000 in revenue through these fees for facility rentals.
There are some fee changes to the use of several of the city’s parks for special events, which will now be assessed a restoration fee. Prior to this, there were no restoration fees for organizations using any of the parks.
To hold a special event in City Park, the restoration fee is $300; for Ogletree Gap Park, $150; and for South Park, $100.
The proposed new fee for an organized race/run/walk in any of the parks will be $50.
Other fee increases
EMS fees will have increases of $100 per call for ambulance services, as well as the “no transport fee” in the city and county to be increased by $50 per call plus an additional $5 per mile.
Fire Inspections are going up $25 across the board.
For Animal Control, there are also some notable fee changes. City licenses for dogs and cats will go up to $5, from $3. To reclaim a lost pet, the impound fee goes up to $30, from $20. For each additional day the animal is held, the fee is $10 per day, up from $6.
For aquatics, new fees are restoration fees added to the cost of swim passes for individuals, families, and senior citizens. To rent one of the city’s pools for a party, the cost will be $125 from $100.
Golfers will see some increased fees at the Hills of Cove Golf Course, increases which will bring in an additional $19,000 in anticipated revenue during the next fiscal year.
Several changes include increase in annual and semiannual green fees for additional dependents and senior spouses. An annual trail fee with cart storage will be an additional $100, a new fee in addition to the annual green fee. A new tournament fee of $500 will be assessed for setup and tear down of the event canopy.
As with the previously mentioned civic center and other facility fees, the council requested the city offer a percentage discount for nonprofits booking the facilities.
Altogether, the increased fees will bring in an anticipated $627,980 in additional revenue, the bulk coming from the emergency medical services ambulance transport rates of $564,580.