CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas—Corpus Christi residents are finding utility bills this month are higher thanks to the debut of a street maintenance fee.

City officials have tried to minimize the surprise by including—but not charging—the fee on bills sent over the past three months.

But bills that went out last week are showing residents of single-family homes now will be paying just over $5 per month more. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports (http://bit.ly/19ZSAj7) commercial accounts and other nonresidential properties will have higher charges based on square footage and customer traffic. Apartment owners are being assessed $2.42 per unit.

The city ordinance authorizing the new fee says non-payment could result in utility shutoffs.

It's estimated the fee will raise about $11.4 million each year. It's to pay for street upkeep.

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Information from: Corpus Christi Caller-Times, http://www.caller.com