Sulphur City Council proposes raised water, sewer, garbage fees

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

SULPHUR — The City Council proposed raising water, sewer and garbage collection fees for residents, effective at the end of

next month.

According to the ordinance introduced at Tuesday’s council meeting, water fees would increase by 52 cents per month, sewer

fees by 75 cents per month and garbage collection fees by $1.23.

Kevin Alley, city finance director, said the readjustment in the water fee includes a 25-cent increase to the base fee, plus

a 27-cent fee for Department of Environmental Quality testing.

Residents had a $3.24 fee attached to their water bill for the DEQ testing annually, but Alley said the city decided to divide

it into 12 months and charge 27 cents monthly.

He said the last rate increase for water and sewer fees took effect July 1, 2011.

“There was a period of time when the

city didn’t increase water or sewer fees, and we fell behind on rate

levels,” Mayor Chris

Duncan said. “We have been slowly trying over the years to

gradually get to the level we should be at. We are looking at the

future really closely and evaluating fees every year.”

Alley said that when readjusting rates, officials take into consideration what other municipalities and water districts charge

for their services and what the city’s actual expense is to provide water and treat sewer systems.

“If the rates weren’t increased, then the city would have to pay the difference, which it is currently doing out of sales

tax revenue money,” he said. “The rates, even with the increase, are still below the actual cost and there will still be a

difference for the city to pick up.”

A public hearing on the issue is set for 5:30 p.m. June 10 in the Council Chambers in City Hall, 500 N. Huntington St. The

council will vote on the rate increases June 10.