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Westlake residents could see increase on water bills

Last Modified: Friday, July 05, 2013 6:10 PM

By Natalie Stewart / American Press

Westlake residents could see an $8 increase on their water bills as the city continues negotiations with Sulphur over a 70 percent rate increase on its wastewater transport and treatment services.

The city of Sulphur, which has provided the service to Westlake since the late 1980s, increased its fee for Westlake from $26,000 per month to $44,000 — and Westlake Mayor Dan Cupit said he’s working to minimize the effect on residents.

“That’s one heck of an increase, and we have to pass that on to our customers,” Cupit said. “That will be a hefty fee without a whole lot of warning.”

Kevin Alley, Sulphur’s finance director, said a rate increase is necessary to cover Westlake’s cost for providing wastewater services. He said Westlake hasn’t seen an increase since 2007.

Cupit said that although he has not met with Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan, his staff is working with Sulphur to “hash out figures” to reach an “acceptable conclusion.”

“We understand we’re pretty well at their mercy, but we still would like to have some type of acceptable conclusion,” Cupit said. “That’s what we’re working on, but we haven’t worked out a solution yet.”

The increase was to take effect July 1, and Duncan said an agreement needs to be reached soon since that date has passed. “We need to get to the table pretty quick, get this resolved and move on,” he said.

The contract also calls for an annual adjustment so that the issue doesn’t “keep going back to the table,” Duncan said.

Cupit said that although they are still negotiating, he’s confident a solution benefitting both sides can be reached.

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