The City of Aledo is working hard to expand our water and wastewater services to meet an influx of new residents while also modernizing and upgrading older equipment and infrastructure. These are critical services our residents rely on around the clock.
In 2022, the City began the design and engineering for the required upgrades to expand and renovate our wastewater treatment plant. The estimated total cost of these improvements is more than $25 million. The City has secured some low-interest funding through the Texas Water Development Board for system improvements such as the Clear Fork Sewer Interceptor project completed earlier this year and continues to seek funding opportunities to keep project and borrowing costs as low as possible for our customers.
Additionally, this year, we’ve begun installing new automated water meters that will more accurately monitor water flows to our customers. The meter upgrade project is expected to be complete by the end of the year. It will allow customers to view their account and water usage online at any time through a new online customer portal. These improvements will even help customers identify potential leaks to investigate and repair. Given the severe drought conditions we experienced this summer and fall, it’s important to use water wisely to conserve limited supplies.
With these improvements and changes comes a learning curve – for our small, dedicated staff and for our customers. We are working to respond to many calls, emails and visits from our customers asking questions about recent water bills, the new meters and higher water use. November utility bills were sent out this week along with a detailed insert explaining the September and October billing issues that occurred for some customers and our actions to address them. We encourage customers to review this information for answers to questions you may have.
I want to personally apologize for these recent issues that have caused confusion and taken extended time to investigate and respond. With limited staff and the number of inquiries, response times have been much longer than normal. Please know that we are working as quickly as possible to follow up on each call and email received. If you still have questions about your bill, please complete the Utility Bill Inquiry Form online at www.aledotx.com.
At City Council’s direction, we have hired a third-party contractor to conduct a thorough and rigorous audit of the utility billing process — from meter to payment. The contractor will report their findings back to Council and the newly developed Utility Billing Advisory Committee. We will also share the auditor’s results with our customers and take the necessary actions based on those recommendations. The audit is expected to take up to 120 days to complete. In the meantime, our staff is working diligently to investigate and resolve recent billing issues to avoid them in the future.
On Thursday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m., we will host a virtual customer information meeting about the Aledo water system, rates, new meters, billing improvements, conservation and the independent audit process. You can register for the Dec. 14 information meeting and read the bill insert on the City’s website at www.aledotx.com. The meeting will be recorded and available online for future viewing. This is one example of how we are working to increase our water communications and will be providing information, updates and resources more frequently.
Our team is dedicated to serving the community and committed to doing what it takes to meet your needs and earn your trust. Thank you for your patience, understanding and support while we make the improvements needed to modernize our utility system and processes and better serve our community.
-Noah A. Simon, City Manager
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