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Utility bill cost raise concerns

According to town officials, the cost of utility bills has begun to concern residents of Victoria as the town plans to replace water meters with new digital meters.

In a letter to residents, according to Victoria Town Manager Rodney Newton, there are approximately 100 new digital meters in the system as of Aug. 31. Computerized meters provide an average hourly usage for the past 30 days based on the last 30 days’ use.

According to Newton, the bill residents receive at the beginning of each month is for the previous 30 days’ usage.

“For example, the bill received on Sept. 1 was for water used during the month of July,” Newton said.

Newton said Town personnel read water meters around the end of each month.

“The Town of Victoria strives to maintain reasonable rates for its customers while meeting all operational and regulatory requirements,” Newton said. “The national recommendation is that utility fees should increase annually along with the United States Inflation rate, but the town council has chosen not to follow that model.”

The current minimum monthly charge for residential utilities in the Town of Victoria is $62, which is comprised of the following:

Water – $30.50 for up to 3,000 gallons – the last increase of this fee was July 1, 2018

Sewer – $20.50 for up to 3,000 gallons – the last increase in this fee was July 1, 2020

Garbage – $11.00 – the last increase in this fee was July 1, 2016.

In an effort to help town residents, Newton provided the following facts and tips:

• Toilets manufactured prior to 1994 use an average of 3.5 gallons of water per flush.

• Toilets manufactured after 1994 use an average of 1.6 gallons or less of water per flush.

• A leaky flapper valve in a toilet can waste approximately 200 gallons of water per day.

• One day leaking at 200 gallons per day = $1.03 increase per day

• A garden hose left running without a nozzle can flow up to 10 gallons per minute.

• One hour running at approximately 600 gallons per hour = $3.10 increase per hour

• Older style showerheads deliver approximately 8 gallons of water per minute, while newer efficient models deliver approximately 2.5 gallons of water per minute.

• Older non-efficient washing machines can use as much as 40 gallons of water per load, while newer high-efficiency washers use only 15 to 30 gallons of water per load.

• Older dishwashers can use as much as 11 gallons of water per load, while newer models use 6.5 gallons or less.

• Leaks between the meter and your home can be a cause of excess water usage as well. Signs to look for include:

• Wet spots

• The actual flow of water over the ground

• Green algae growing in the area