Council discusses water, sewer rate increase
The city of Shreveport is again looking at ways to tackle crumbling streets and the aging water and sewerage system. The city council infrastructure committee met Friday to discuss the infrastructure needs.
The main talking point was the possibility of water rate increases. Officials with the Department of Water and Sewerage say, at the end of the day, there's not enough revenue to properly maintain the water and sewer lines. Interim Director of Water and Sewerage Barbara Featherston said the department is getting by on band-aid repairs.
Add onto that: the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice are sending deadlines to the city to make certain repairs to the sewerage system or face penalties. Those repairs are estimated to cost between $200 million and $300 million. So water and sewer rate increases have been recommended.
Councilman Jeff Everson (Dist. B) serves as chairman of the infrastructure committee.
"There's a variety of ways we can get to it," said Everson. "And there's a variety of ways we can handle it. But we need to be sure that we're very clear about the fact that we are going to need to. I think I've been very open about the fact that we're going to need to look at some increases. We're going to have to look at some ways to generate revenues in order to address this problem."
The recommendation to the city council is to raise sewer rates in by 50 percent and water rates by 26 percent in 2013. More rate increases would come in following years.
The average water and sewer bill in Shreveport is nearly $49.00 per month. If the rates go up according to that recommendation, the average household would pay an extra $20 per month.
The council also discussed ways to address Shreveport's crumbling streets. Some council members want to use about $10 million to repair 20 minor arterial asphalt streets throughout the city. That money would come from the Streets Special Revenue Fund, which is funded by the SWEPCO franchise fee.
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