Kendall West Utility Company owner plans 100 percent water rate increase
Residents of Ranger Creek, Tapatio Springs subdivisions near Boerne protest water hike
NEAR BOERNE, Texas - Residents of the Ranger Creek and Tapatio Springs subdivisions just outside Boerne packed an outdoor pavilion Wednesday night to question the owner of Kendall West Utility Company about a staggering rate increase.
John Mark Matkin, who bought Kendall West Utility Company in July, said the increase is necessary to buy extra water from the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority to offset a shortage in the Cow Creek Aquifer.
“We have a well that 12-15 years ago used to do 550 gallons a minute and now it does 70 gallons a minute. And I have a responsibility to serve customers water,” said Matkin.
Several residents who attended the meeting, though, were skeptical, some hostile about the rate increase.
Tim Reilly, a retired police officer who has lived in Ranger Creek for 19 years, said he believes Matkin’s intentions are good, but feels the 100 percent increase is too much to swallow.
“If this happened in San Antonio, people would go absolutely crazy about it,” said Reilly. “The people that live in Ranger Creek are on a fixed income, and can’t afford a 100 percent rate increase.”
Matkin said the utility company operates annually at a loss, and said serious infrastructure upgrades are needed to keep the system running.
“Our electric control systems are so antiquated we can barely buy parts for them, so we have to do those upgrades,” said Matkin. “We also have an obligation to build our own pipeline, because right now, the City of Boerne’s been gracious enough to let us use their pipeline.”
The rate increase must be approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
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