INTERVIEW: Mayor Pope's update on stormwater rates, Citizens Tow

INTERVIEW: Mayor Pope's update on stormwater rates, Citizens Tower, police HQ land deal

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Lubbock's city council is reevaluating its stormwater rate structure in work sessions, which could lead to a 30 percent drop in what you pay, Mayor Pope said Thursday. A guest on the News@Nine, Mayor Pope said it's part of the city overhauling its stormwater debt structure from 20 years ago.

"We issued a bunch of debt as a city to deal with some of our flooding problems," Pope said. "A lot of those big projects, the dollars we borrowed to fund those projects, we're paying that debt off.

"So, as that happens," he continued, "we'll be able to provide relief to our rate payers, our utility customers. Starting next year, that will be a dollar and a half a month on our base rate."

Pope said the most important thing is the city's ability to pay for stormwater upgrades with cash, rather than accruing debt. 

City council members, now meeting on Tuesdays instead of Thursdays, are also evaluating the city's strategic water plan. Mayor Pope said that's an ongoing effort to ensure Lubbock can continue to deal in the "currency of this part of the world" due to its scarcity in our area.

"Water never gets off the top of your desk," he said. "It's something you always work on."

The 100-year strategic plan can be viewed here; Mayor Pope said it includes potential projects, growth, worst-case scenarios on drought and conservation. 

Mayor Pope described a land swap deal with a private owner as a good deal; it swaps a full city block of land near the Mahon Library for a slightly larger block near Citizens Tower for the police administrative headquarters.

"I think it makes sense. It forms a municipal complex," Pope explained. "The land closer to the library is closer to Buddy Holly Hall, it'll go on the tax rolls, and we think it's a win-win."

Mayor Pope also said the Citizens Tower project is on-time and under budget, anticipating city offices will move in this fall and call it "home" by Christmas.

You can watch Mayor Pope's full interview at the top of this story.

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