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Mesquite, TX – October 29, 2020 – After nearly four years of negotiations, Mesquite residents can anticipate a better water rate structure in the future from the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). The new contract the City of Mesquite ceremoniously signed today, with the 13 Member Cities and NTMWD, will have a significant impact on Mesquite water customers over the next few decades. Anticipating this settlement, no rate increases for Mesquite Water Customers were implemented for the upcoming year.
Mesquite, joined by the cities of Plano, Frisco and Richardson, petitioned the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) in 2016 to evaluate the methodology the NTMWD used to establish its rates. The cities were purchasing water through what was known as the “take-or-pay” system. The system used the year of highest usage to establish how much water to bill the cities. In the case of the four cities, that rate was set in 2002, prior to the drought and water conservation and substantial rate increases from NTMWD. Mesquite determined the rates set by the NTMWD, under a six-decade-old contract, were inconsistent with water conservation and not in the public interest.
City Manager Cliff Keheley said, “This new agreement will level out Mesquite water utility customers’ rates. Our local system is growing and aging, and the need to fund our system is a priority and the new methodology will allow us to better control our rates to ensure our system meets the needs of our customers. This was a long process and required compromise from 13 cities each with different priorities and impacts. I appreciate the efforts of those city leaders to spend the time and effort to develop a methodology that works for the long term benefit of the district.”
Keheley shared the no rate increases for Mesquite customers was also in part to NTMWD’s efforts to evaluate its costs and not increase their wholesale water rates, which have been the primary factor in Mesquite’s rate increases in past years. He said, “The NTMWD Board has made significant efforts over the past few years to realize the impacts of rate increases on water customers. By passing a budget with no increases, they have made a significant impact on the citizens of Mesquite. We look forward to a stronger and better partnership with the NTMWD.”