LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas Valley Water District's Board of Directors met Tuesday morning and unanimously approved a water rate increase starting in January.
The increase was proposed by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to pay for water infrastructure. The average residential customer will see an increase of about $1.04 on their monthly bill starting in Jan. 2014. The hike will be phased in over the next four years and eventually amount to about $5 more a month by 2017.
Homeowner Mike Freeman enjoys his lush yard, but it comes at a price and next year he will have to pay more to keep his yard watered. He already pays a higher bill than most residents.
"We spend about $250 in the summertime," Freeman said.
The money generated by the rate hike will be used to offset an approximately $3 billion debt for construction projects. The projects include the third straw which will pump more water out of Lake Mead and a new water treatment plant. Major infrastructure costs have drained the SNWA budget.
"Many of us here are just spent. We can not continue taxing the people," Chris Harold told the board of directors.
Harold was among a small group who voiced their opposition to the increase at the hearing. A larger group was in favor of it.
"Nobody will want to invest in a community that does not have adequate water supply," Teri Murphy said.
Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said the hike is not easy for many of his constituents, but necessary.
"We live in the desert and where we get out water and how we pay for it is a struggle," he said.
"It's another cost and something we have to have," Freeman said.