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      Water district considers rate hike for McAllen area

      If you live in McAllen, you may soon be paying more for your water.

      Hidalgo County Water Improvement District #3 is considering a 25 to 44 percent rate increase.

      The water district may only provide about 65 percent of the city of McAllen TMs water but if there is a rate increase everyone in town would foot the bill.

      "An increase of 25 to 44 percent is unheard of, McAllen Public Utility Board Chairman Charles Amos said. It will have a direct impact on our operating costs and more importantly our operating cost has to be paid somewhere and it's going to be the people who buy water services from the city of McAllen."

      Amos is not happy with the consideration to raise the water rate by such a drastic amount.

      "This was not even hinted at any dialogues or conversations over the last few months, Amos said.

      At a District #3 meeting Wednesday afternoon the board introduced the item for the first time.

      Board member and former McAllen mayor Leo Montalvo said the low rates of the past have only been possible due to other revenues the district has received.

      "The district has operated for the most part in a deficit for the past ten years, Montalvo said.

      But Amos says he has yet to see sufficient evidence to warrant the increase.

      "None of the other districts are talking about an increase like this. None of the other districts are talking about an increase period, Amos said.

      Amos says the proposed increase would cost the city of McAllen who buys 90 percent of the district's water, a quarter to half a million dollars.

      The water district will be holding a special meeting at the District #3 office (1325 W. Pecan Blvd.) next Wednesday at noon to discuss the rate increase further.

      The board did approve an expense Wednesday of $4,000 dollars a month for a public relations consultant and website.