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Proposed water and sewer fee changes, construction inspector position part of proposed city budget


Cove Leader-Press


On Tuesday evening, the Copperas Cove city council workshop, the city council was presented with the proposed fiscal year 2024-2025 budget.

The city’s Budget Department prepared the budget using a preliminary property tax rate of $0.630045 per $100 property valuation, which is lower than the current property tax rate of $0.672652 per $100 valuation.

However, the certified property values have not been released yet, so the council may need to call for a voter approval tax rate election, if the council proposes and approves a rate that is higher than the voter approval tax rate.

This remains to be seen and won’t be known until the certified values are released.

The proposed total operating budget is $61,970,108 for the next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1, 2024. The council will not be approving the fiscal year 2024-2025 budget until Aug.

Several notable items included in the budget are proposed fee changes for water and sewer volumetric rates. These are rates that city water customers pay for the water and sewer usage, not the base water and sewer rates.

The proposed increase for residential water usage is an increase of 85 cents per 1,000 gallons used per month; sprinkler charge increase of 74 cents per 1,000 gallons; an increase of $1.04 per 1,000 gallons for commercial accounts; bulk water increase of $1.52 per 1,000 gallons; and an increase to the contractor rate of $1.27 per 1,000 gallons.

The proposed increase for the sewer volumetric rate is 15 cents per 1,000 gallons for all customers.

Discussions about the rate increases originated back in February when the council and city administration discussed funding future water needs for the city, with the continued growth the city is experiencing. The council voted at its February 6 meeting to support the expansion of BCWCID No. 1 and commit to an additional 7 million gallons per day in additional treated water capacity for the city.

On Thursday, the council heard an explnation of the proposed fee schedules, including the above proposed rate changes, and were on board with them as presented. 

Publilc Works Director Scott Osburn shared at Thursday's workshop that not reflected in the presentation were across the board fee increases for commercial water and sewer, in the amount of 5 percent. The City's administration used the most recent utility rate study as reference for the proposed fee changes. 

The fee schedule will come back to the council for approval at an upcoming meeting, as shown in the dates at the end of this article.

A new proposed position in the city is for a construction inspector for the Public Works Department.

Scott Osburn, Public Works Director, explained the need for the new position to the council. He said that the construction inspector will inspect the city’s own capital improvement projects as the city puts in streets, sidewalks, and water pipes.

“This construction inspector verifies that the contractor is actually building those projects in accordance with the plans and specs and details that were designed by the engineer. ‘The second area that they oversee is infrastructure constructed as a result of development. For example, when subdivisions come in, the construction inspector is out there daily or weekly to ensure they are constructing that infrastructure in accordance with those plans. The ultimate purpose there is to assure that the city is getting high quality infrastructure to start with.”
Osburn said that currently the city only has one construction inspector.

“Quite frankly, with all the projects that we're doing now, all the development, the guy is basically at his maximum. As we look into future years and we talk about increasing our capital improvement project budgets to do more projects that have been deferred over the last couple of decades, I'll need additional support, in addition to that one person.”

Where the overall budget is concerned, the city’s major funds total $52,695,998 and includes $23,375,509 for the General Fund, $20,656,128 for the Water & Sewer Fund, $8,274,694 for the Solid Waste Fund and $389,667 for the Golf Course Fund. The Other Funds budget totals $9,274,110 and includes the Special Revenue Funds with expenditures as follows: $5,471,903 for the Interest and Sinking Fund, $1,446,215 for the Drainage Fund, $58,200 for the Parks Improvement Fund, $1,380,150 for the Street Maintenance Fund, $236,500 for the Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund, $62,500 for the PEG Fee Fund, $40,646 for the Municipal Court Funds, and the remaining funds totaling $577,996 for the Miscellaneous Other Funds.

The entire proposed budget, 427 pages, can be viewed online at

Upcoming dates of note for the city’s budget calendar, to include meetings and public hearings, are:

August 1 – Discuss tax rate, hold public hearing on budget

August 6 – Record vote to propose tax rate, make any changes to budget, voter approval rate election (deadline Aug. 19)

August 20 – Public hearing on tax increase, adopt budget, adopt tax rate, adopt fee schedule with changes

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207