The Stephenville City Council’s Public Works Committee is at work on a new ordinance governing how the city provides water and sewer services outside the city limits.

The matter was on Tuesday's city council agenda, but as Mayor Kenny Weldon explained, “We need to do some more work on this so it’s going back to committee,” and no action was taken.

As written now, the new ordinance would repeal others passed in 1993 and provide water and sewer services for commercial, industrial or residential customers outside the city limits − after the applicant submits a formal contract for those services.

Unless the new ordinance is amended by the Public Works Committee, applicants must apply for both water and sewer services − not just one or the other. Also, the rate for such services – again, as the proposed ordinance reads now – would be 1.15 times the rate being currently charged within the city limits.

However, should the city annex the area being serviced outside the city limits, the rate would then revert to the rate being charged to city customers.

”The proposed ordinance was tabled as some council members believe the ordinance needs more clarification in a couple of areas. Specifically, there were concerns about providing water outside the city to residential customers without an agreement to be annexed into the city," said City Administrator Pat Bridges.

“In the case of a new development, it appears the council wants to ensure that the developers not only agree to annexation, but also agree to build to city standards. The ordinance also required the applicant to accept water and sewer service, not just one or the other. However, as one council member pointed out, a particular area might not be conducive to running a sewer line for example. The idea would be not to penalize a potential customer in that case.” 

The ordinance currently allows commercial and industrial customers to receive water and sewer service from the city if they are outside the city limits, subject to approval of the city council. The ordinance provides these customers pay a higher rate for services than customers living within the city limits.