BOERNE, Texas – A planned water rate hike has people in Kendall County furious.
Their water bills are set to essentially double, but the utility says it’s a necessary move.
As it stands, Kendall West Utility customers pay an extra $4.72 for every extra 1,000 gallons of water. That price will jump to $8.95.
The base monthly rate will double as well.
Hundreds of people representing the nine subdivisions affected by the rate hike packed a Boerne pavilion for a meeting Wednesday night.
The head of the water company promised to stay at the meeting as long as it took for people to understand the changes.
Street signs promised a protest.
“We feel we’ve been kind of steamrolled,” area homeowner Jann Kraus says.
And homeowners followed through on that promise.
“That’s a lie,” one homeowner shouted during the meeting, demanding answers from John Mark Matkin, a local who bought the water company and is proposing the rate hike.
"This is not some big corporation,” Matkin says. “This is just a guy that stood up to try to fight some problems."
Down the road, deer munch dying grass from yards because of strict water restrictions this summer – absolutely no watering.
Matkin says his plan may cost more, but it will connect homes to the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and ensure water security for years to come.
"That is a portion of the cost that we're talking about,” Matkin says “We literally have to pay the city of Boerne to bring the water to us until we get our own pipeline built."
Homeowners are fighting the rate hike with a formal protest: a petition asking the state to intervene.
"I called the state earlier to see if they would accept a petition like this and they said they would,” Kraus says.
Concerned citizens need the signatures of 10% of ratepayers, so about 900 people.
Either way, homeowners will start paying the higher rates November 1, until the state reviews the petition.