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City repeals EPA fee to lower water bills

Vicksburg’s residential water and sewer customers are getting a break on their utility bills in October.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday amended a city ordinance repealing the $5 and $8 EPA fees for residential users.

Mayor George Flaggs announced in late July he planned to remove the fee placed on utility bills in April 2015 to help cover the potential cost of improvements to the city’s sewer system required under a consent decree approved in 2012 between the city and the Environmental Protection Agency.

When he announced the residential fee was coming off, Flaggs said the reason was because the city had identified about $2 million in unpaid water use.

“The (affected) customers are paying, and because they are paying, reimbursing the city; I just think it makes more sense to stop the flat fee for residential customers,” he said. “And if in fact it seems we find more money, we’ll remove it for industry.”

He said the fee will be off the bills at the same time the second phase of the city’s water and sewer rate increase passed in 2018 goes into effect.

“That’s straight dollars going into the pockets and the banks of the residential customers; it’s a rebate,” Flaggs said.

The consent decree was the result of an EPA investigation that found the city had allowed untreated sewage to get into local streams and the Mississippi River.

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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