HOUSTON - Get ready for higher water bills.
Houston city council moving forward Wednesday on what will eventually be a $2 billion rate hike - spread out over the next 15 years.
Mayor Sylvester Turner says the added revenue is needed to make water and wastewater improvements demanded by the federal government.
The infrastructure upgrades were a condition of settling litigation with the EPA for years of environmental violations including the seeping of sewage into lakes, rivers, and streams.
While some councilmembers asked to delay the proposed fee on new development... The mayor insisted the increases will be "modest" and the upgrades "long overdue."
"It's when people don't have to vote for a fee and pay for it. It's all easy then. It's all easy. I wish I could say 'voila. It's fixed,' but you are going to pay for it. Somebody got to pay for it," Mayor Turner said. "My suggestion on this is to use some of the area funds to kind offset this increase for maybe a year, two years so people can get back on their feet and we are not impacting them right now
In the coming weeks, the city council is expected to take up a city-wide increase in residential and commercial fees to further fund the water and wastewater upgrades.