LC Council to consider raising water & sewer rates

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Depending on how much water you use, you could see an increase on future water and sewer bills. That's the proposal on the table by the City of Lake Charles.

Lake Charles City Finance Director Karen Harrell tells 7 News the city's water division currently operates on a budget of 8.2 million dollars, but only projects to make 7.2-million dollars in revenues.

"That will result in a $700,000 deficit. We're operating in a deficit in the water fund and waste water fund. So we're proposing to increase rates proportionally to offset the deficit," explained Harrell.

So what does this mean for water customers? Over the next five years customers can expect their statements to increase 2 to 3 dollars per month each year. Harrell says it's a small price to pay to stay out of the red.

"If we continue with the operating deficit we have that would accumulate from year to year and by the end of the five year period we could be looking at a 12-million dollar deficit in each of these funds," said Harrell.

Maintaining sewers and water systems isn't cheap. The proposal also includes a capital improvement fund. "We will assess each water meter one dollar for the first 30-thousand gallons of water they use. We estimate that will generate around $400,000 per year and that will be put into a special fund to be used for capital improvements," said Harrell.

If the council approves the proposal at Wednesday night's regular meeting, Lake Charles customers will see the increase go into effect on their water bills starting January 1, 2010.

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