Curated News

Nov 19, 2013 11:13 PM by Joanna Wise

Pueblo water bills going up $1 a month per homeowner

PUEBLO, CO- Pueblo water bills are going up. The water board increased rates today by 3%. The hike will cost the average homeowner $1.00 a month starting in January.

We're digging deeper into how that extra money's being spent. What we found may surprise you.

"Well, I think the increase is not a significant amount, especially to a water bill that is fairly low in Pueblo County," said Harold Strobridge.

He doesn't mind shelling out an extra dollar or so a month when it comes to his Pueblo Water Works bill. Something he does think twice about, what that money is going toward.

"For a donation to be given, you know, that might be a good option to have to check your water bill that you'd want to donate," said Strobridge.

He's referring to the Cares Program. Some $100,000 of the Pueblo Water Works budget is earmarked for the program.

"I think that it's interesting that they chose to do that in the way that there doing it," Strobridge told us.

The board teamed up with United Way and Catholic Charities in 2008 to provide emergency funding to families who can't pay their bill. In the first year, they set aside $50,000 for the program. Since then, it's increased.

"It's been at the $100,000 level for the last three years, along with $10,000 from the city," said Seth Clayton, with Pueblo Water Works.

While critics say ratepayers should at least have a choice in the matter, Clayton argues the donation isn't really that big of a deal.

"What people need to realize is that while it sounds like a lot of money, $100,000, it really has very little effect on the rate," Clayton said.

He adds, the donation is one way to improve Pueblo's quality of life.

The Board of Pueblo Water Works says it's not unusual for local government entities to have assistance programs. Black Hills Energy has one as well.



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