City natural gas prices up again|[11/8/05]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 8, 2005

On the heels of increases for Vicksburg utility services in September, officials approved another bump for natural gas Monday.

The Mayor and Aldermen adopted a resolution to approve a gas adjustment for October that will charge customers another 16 cents per 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas starting with November bills.

Mayor Laurence Leyens said the increase was due to prices from suppliers soaring past what had been expected. &#8220The gas we used costs more than we were charging you,” he said.

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In the earlier round, increases of 25 percent for natural gas, 15 percent for water, 5 percent for sewer and a monthly increase to $14.70 from $12.60 for residential garbage collection were made effective on October bills.

Paul Rogers, strategic planner, said the city spent $200,000 more for natural gas last month than expected, meaning an average increase of $2.40 per month for natural gas customers through the next 12 months to recover the cost.

Rogers said residents should expect to see natural gas prices continue to rise through the winter months until the spring. Other fuel prices were moderating, however, after increasing in the early summer months and surging after two hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, in the Gulf of Mexico.

While the earlier gas-rate increases were enacted to meet rising fuel costs, the increased charges for other utilities were made in a budget-shifting move to reduce by $2 million the city’s general fund supplement of its utility operations. Vicksburg has about 10,000 meter connections for water and gas services.

North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield was at a conference and was absent from Monday’s meeting.

In other business, officials: