SHREVEPORT, La. - If you live in Shreveport you can expect to see higher water bills soon.
There's a scheduled rate increase in January. And, Tuesday night the City Council voted unanimously to amend an ordinance allowing the city to round up water bills. Recently, rounding up put the city on the losing end of a huge lawsuit.
But with the council's unanimous approval, the city will continue to round up the amount of water customers use during the months of November, December, January and February.
KTBS reached out to all City Council members, the spokesperson for the city attorney and the director of the water and sewage department. They either didn't want to talk about what they voted on or haven't gotten back to us.
The ordinance says the city's previous billing system can't bill in increments, so they have to round up to the thousand gallons. That leaves customers being charged for each 1,000 gallons. Which essentially means most are paying for more than they are using.
A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of all of the city's 60,000 customers based on the over-billing. In October, a judge ruled in the customers' favor and said they are due refunds that could total more than $25 million. The exact payout is still being determined.
But the council's vote means instead of finding a system that can calculate accurate water usage, the city will continue rounding up.
The water rate increase in January is because of the consent decree requiring the city to upgrade its old sewer system and comply with a Department of Justice mandate. That project is estimated to top $1 billion.
According to the city's website, water and sewer rates are going up 6 percent each in 2020. It drops to a 2 percent increase in 2021 for sewer and none for water. Then in 2022, water goes up another 4 percent and sewer, 2 percent. But that doesn't touch the 14 percent sewer rate hikes customers experienced in 2015 and 2016.
Click here to for a copy of the city's rate schedule.