An in-place policy allowing Kyle water customers to pay a lower rate in the event of a leak has now been extended to commercial businesses.
On June 25, the Kyle City Council voted 7-0 to update language in the city’s policy on water leaks to include businesses, while also creating a process to monitor water infrastructure repairs.
Water customers experiencing leaks in Kyle have historically benefitted from the city’s policy, which allows them to pay a lower rate for one month’s time. Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers said changes to the policy came after a commercial water customer experienced a water leak.
“It was caused by a tree root growing through a pipe on their side of the meter and a lot of water passed through that meter before they noticed the leak,” Sellers said.
In 2010, Kyle city leaders initially developed the water leak policy for residential customers. The policy allowed the customer to report the leak to the city and make a plan to provide adequate repairs. During the time period between receiving repairs, customers would pay the lowest discounted rate possible to “provide a financial break.”
“Many (Kyle) businesses have a bathroom and a sink area,” Sellers said. “But they end up using quite a bit less water that a residential customer.”
Along with extending the courtesy to businesses, the city also tightened up rules of the policy.
Commercial customers will have one month to provide proof of repairs; residents will have two months. Those who do not follow the timeframe or are not seen as following the policy can be rejected from the policy at the discretion of the city’s water department.
Adjustments to the policy were made after city staff surveyed similar rules and ordinances in nearby communities.
City staff will help monitor possible water leaks and notify residents when water usage seems abnormally high for the customer. Those who do not react after notification might be disqualified from receiving the lower rate, which is calculated by the lowest rate being used in the city at that time.
Kyle City Council member Daphne Tenorio said she benefitted from the program after a water leak flooded her backyard last month while she was out of town.
“The program we have in place for residents is a really good program and I’m really pleased with how that works,” Tenorio said. “I do believe commercial properties should have some type of way to regroup.”
Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell said the ordinance amendment gives the city the right to determine negligence by property owners, abuse from water customers and quality of repairs. Mitchell said the city will be able to use discretion in ensuring water customers are not taking advantage of the policy more than once annually.
Those interested in filing a claim if they experience a water leak call the city’s utility department at 512-262-3960.