Shreveport raises water rates to fund federal mandate - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Shreveport raises water rates to fund federal mandate


The Shreveport City Council has voted to raise water and sewer rates to pay for a $350 million overhaul of the city's antiquated water system and bring it into compliance with the federal Clean Water Act.

The much-debated measure passed 4-3 Tuesday afternoon, with councilmembers Michael Corbin, Oliver Jenkins, Jeff Everson and Ron Webb voting in favor.

As a result of the vote, city officials say water rates will rise by 13 percent, beginning Oct. 1, 2013, with sewer rates increasing by 55 percent. Those rates will remain fixed until Jan. 1, 2015. At that point, annual rate increases will occur until January 2020.

The City of Shreveport recently completed an extended negotiation process with the Department of Justice to find the best way to address the negative environmental impact the city's crumbling infrastructure has had for years.

Residents have long complained about sewage backing into their yards or flowing along neighborhood streets. Each time such an overflow happens, the city must report it to the Environmental Protection Agency. Each violation is subject to a fine of about $37,000.

A statement released by the mayor's office Tuesday night quotes Mayor Cedric Glover thanked the councilmembers following the vote. "I want to thank the councilmembers who made the difficult decision today to move forward and support this plan to solve a problem that we all acknowledge needs to be addressed now."

"As I've said before, we're not in this to make money and a lot of planning, discussion and deliberation went into the rate schedule you approved today."

"This is the best plan that's been put in front of us and if anyone out there has a better solution, then we haven't seen it," Councilman Oliver Jenkins said.

"The implementation schedule for the staggered rate increases was studied for several weeks by the council's Infrastructure Committee, headed by Councilman Everson," the statement went on to say. "That group offered essential changes designed to soften the blow that customers will feel in the coming months."

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