Bossier City Council considers raising sewer rates by 41%

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Bossier City Council members are considering raising sewer rates by 41%, translating into a $15.00 price hike for city residents.

Two consulting groups recommended rate increase to the city council at a Wastewater Financial Planning and Rate Design Public Workshop on Tuesday. Representatives from Burns and McDonnell and Manchac Consulting Groups presented the council with a two part study, consisting of a financial plan and revenue requirements outlining the proposed rates.

The consultants told the council they recommended the governing body adopt the rates to fund a major program to fix problems with sewer lines and lift stations. The consultants said the program would allow the city to be "proactive in reacting to sewer issues, rather than reactive," referencing the City of Shreveport's sewage challenges.

Bossier City has a 2,000 gallon difference from what it bills customers compared to what they actually treat, according to the consulting group. The project would also eliminate some of the 120 existing pump stations, which the study found most cities comparable to Bossier's size, only has half the amount of.

Councilman David Montgomery questioned whether the rate hike would be sufficient for years to come and asked the consultants if they were conservative with their numbers in reaching the rate increase amount.

The consultants assured the council that another rate increase wouldn't be necessary for possibly the next 10 years, as long as the city's variables are constant. District 2 Councilman Jeffery Darby pointed out that there have been two sewer rate hikes, one in 2007 and again in 2010. "I just want to make sure that if we raise the rates now, we won't be back here again in 2 years trying to decide whether to raise them again," Darby told the consultants.

The consultants pointed to the study and assured them, if the council follows their recommendation and vote to raise the rates, the city will be in good shape. "The city needs to get back on the curve, right now we're behind it," said one of the consultants.

Because the workshop was only meant to learn about the consultant's recommendations, no official action was taken. Should the council agree to adopt the proposed rate increases, they would go into effect in 2014.

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