Public meeting to focus on increase in sewer rates

Published 7:00 pm Monday, June 11, 2018

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. will hold a second public meeting on the city’s water and sewer rate increases 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the City Hall Annex, 1415 Walnut St.

“This is a follow-up meeting (after the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the new rates),” Flaggs said Monday. “Also, we have gone to a new billing system which is more accurate, and (water and gas manager) Tammy Christmas will be there to answer any questions.”

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Flaggs introduced the new water and sewer rate schedule at an April 18 public meeting. The board approved it June 4.

“It has come to our attention that it is absolutely imperative that we raise the rates as it relates to water and sewer and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency),” he said just before the vote on the new rates. “This area of government service is costing us money and we have to raise the rates.

“This (rate increase) is a necessity.”

Under the new rate structure, the minimum rate a customer will pay is set on a sliding scale based on the size of the water meter and water use. According to the ordinance approved June 4, each increase will be phased in, with half levied in October and the other half Oct. 2019.

The least a residential customer will pay under the new schedule is $10.06 for the first 2,000 gallons, an increase of $1.31 more than the $8.75 minimum rate users have paid since the rates were raised in 2015. Commercial and industrial users would pay a minimum of $41.18 for the first 4,000 gallons used, a $5.37 increase from the present rate of $35.81.

The minimum residential sewer rate was increased by $3.20, from $12.90 to $16.10 for the first 2,000 gallons, and from $3.96 to $4.96 per 1,000 gallons for the second 2,000 gallons — a $1 increase.

The new minimum commercial rate is $43.31 for the first 2,000 gallons, an increase of $15.06 over the present rate of $28.25, and $4.96 per 1,000 gallons for the second 2,000, an increase of $1 over the present $3.96. The industrial sewer rate is unchanged at $446 for the first 200,000 gallons.

The rates were recommended by a 10-member committee appointed by the mayor to examine the city’s rate structure. The committee’s recommendations were presented at an April 18 public meeting called by Flaggs to discuss the rates.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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