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Canyon water rate increase

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Canyon, TX - Canyon residents will be paying a little more for water in the near future - and the more you use, the more you'll pay.

Monday (Feb. 4) evening, city commissioners approved a new pricing plan that will add about ten dollars a month to the average water bill.  and the plan is designed to encourage conservation.

Last year, the city of Canyon issued about nine-point-six million dollars' worth of certificates of obligation to maintain, upgrade and expand its water system.  And now the time has come to pay that debt, everyone will have to chip in - and the more water you use, the more you'll chip in, as Assistant City Manager Chris Sharp explains, "People who use a lot of water to water their lawns in the summer are going to see a higher water bill - they're going to pay more per gallon than the average person."

The plan creates a tiered pricing system, whereby heavy users will pay more to shoulder more of the burden, which creates a financial incentive to conserve.

"We live in the Texas panhandle, and water is hard to come by here," says Sharp.  "And it's very expensive to get it out of the ground and into somebody's tap, so we really want to encourage people to conserve all they can."

One concern brought up was the disproportionate increase on the lowest tiers, but residential users typically see the biggest increase because residential revenue accounts for about 75% of the total, making the city's income more predictable.

Commissioners also discussed establishing "quiet zones" at two railroad crossings in town, which would create traffic barriers to prevent drivers from jumping the tracks and eliminate the need for trains to blow their whistles. The commission seemed to be in favor of installing quiet zones, but postponed any action to do more research to find the most effective and cost-effective method.