Sewer rate hike vote set for Tues.

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The Bossier City Council will vote next week on a proposed increase to the city sewer rate.

The council is considering a $15 increase, effective January 2014, to residential and commercial rates.

This was the second week in a row councilmen have voiced their opinions and concerns on the issue. While some feel the increase is needed, President Jeff Darby isn’t sure how the proposed increase will effect residents who are already feeling a financial strain.

The council met with Dave Naumann from Burns & McDonnell and Justin Haydell from the Manchac Consulting Group last week to hear recommendations on a proposed plan to fund the city sewage infrastructure. Based on findings from a two part study, it was recommended that the council approve a $15 per month increase.

The proposed rate hike would increase the residential sewer service charge from $16.65 to $31.65 per month, and the commercial sewer service charge from $42.58 to $80.97 per month.

Bossier residents saw an $8 across the board increase in 2010 and will see an additional $8 on their bill beginning Dec. 2 for for solid waste collections. If approved, the $15 increase could take effect January 2014.

“The increase would take care of the needed upgrades,” councilman Scott Irwin said, adding that he is leaning toward going ahead with the $15 increase. “These needs aren’t going away. It will only snow ball and get worse down the road.”

Darby asked the council to consider a delay in voting on the ordinance, giving residents a chance to ease into the increased price.

“Lets see how the new water meter rates effect the overall revenue flow,” Darby said. “I just think it’s too much too soon.”

However, councilman David Montgomery said now is the time to look at the facts and plan for the future.

“Do we start being proactive and charge and extra? I say yay,” Montgomery said. “Trust our department heads. The costs will only go up from here if we don’t.”

Jeff Anderson, Director of Public Utilities, said the city hasn’t established a recurring revenue source for the sewer system to fund the half million dollars worth of work needed in Bossier.

“We are learning the true cost of water and sewer. We’ve been replacing lines and systems without a consistent revenue source, but now is the time to set up a fund for those future upgrades,” Anderson said. “We are continuously working to keep up with the population growth and we’re looking at work that could take us five years or more to complete. Now is the time to grow that revenue source.”

The next Bossier City Council meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19.