Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Music: Chris Pérez never saw it coming. “All I ever wanted to do was play guitar,” he told the Current. “I never thought I’d be the subject of an interview... By Enrique Lopetegui 8/28/2013
Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

College Issue 2014: Sell clothes. Plato’s Closet is a great place to take your gently worn apparel in exchange for cold, hard cash. They accept clothes, shoes and... By Brittany Minor 8/18/2014
Best Bookstore

Best Bookstore

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
A Small Slice of San Anto’s Spooky Haunts

A Small Slice of San Anto’s Spooky Haunts

Arts & Culture: San Antonio is one of the oldest cities in the United States, and its history stretches long before the people behind the American or Texas Revolutions... By Mark Reagan 10/15/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email


SAWS Impact Fee Debated At Council Amid Proposed CEO Salary Raise

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

The San Antonio Water System is asking new homebuyers and developers to shoulder a 116 percent “impact fee” increase, a one-time charge that covers the cost of new development to water and wastewater systems. According to SAWS, the cost prevents existing ratepayers from subsidizing new customers and ensures growth “pays for itself.” The debate over the increase—the highest amount allotted by state law and, if implemented, among the highest in the U.S. and in Texas—has elicited concerns over housing affordability and questions over the timing of executive pay increases.

The water supply impact fee would add more than $2,000 to a single-family home purchase and around $300,000 to costs for a multi-family apartment complex building. (Think potentially higher apartment rents or home purchase prices.) For instance, without the increase, prospective homebuyers in central San Antonio would pay $4,227, with the increase that charge goes up to $6,102. Some developers contend tacking on the fees may discourage homeownership and halt new development—including affordable housing—completely.

“An immediate 116 percent increase to the water supply fee hardly seems reasonable,” Scott Farrimond, president of the real-estate industry group Responsible Growth Alliance, told the Current via e-mail. “Multi-family is where you see the most affordable housing. Those costs will be passed on to the renter—or they will kill the project altogether.” Farrimond, who penned a recent opinion guest column for the San Antonio Express-News objecting the SAWS-proposed increase, echoes the reservations of other developers.

Council members, too, specifically expressed concern over the fee’s impact on creating affordable housing units and homes. Speaking about the potential burden on home ownership access for low-income residents, District 5’s Shirley Gonzales said during a recent council meeting, “You say here growth ‘pays for itself,’ but, in fact, it does not pay for itself, the whole community is paying for this new growth.”

Similarly, District 9’s Joe Krier questioned the measure’s role in supporting affordability: “For a lot of people, that’s the difference between getting a mortgage and not getting a mortgage,” said Krier. “For the average homebuyer who doesn’t want to be told where he or she should live and just wants to buy a starter home, how are we being consistent with encouraging housing affordability?” he asked SAWS CEO Robert Puente.

SAWS appeared to boil their answer down to ‘go live somewhere else’: “That individual is making a personal choice to live where he or she wants to live … and therefore, that personal choice has some consequences and that is, that’s what the cost is to live there,” said Puente. “And that personal choice should not be shared by all the other rate payers … they are excluded from that particular house, that particular mortgage, but they do have other options—an existing home, a different mortgage, a home that, instead of [being] $125,000, is $120,000. So there are still a lot of other opportunities for that family.”

Recently in News
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus