Sulphur, Westlake at odds over sewerage fee - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Sulphur, Westlake at odds over sewerage fee

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The City of Sulphur has notified the City of Westlake its monthly bill for treating sewage is going up $18,000 a month, effective this month, but Westlake officials say that's too much.

When a toilet flushes in Westlake, the wastewater begins its journey to a lift station in Mossville.

All of it then goes westward, where it finally winds up at the Sulphur regional plant.

Westlake pays Sulphur $26,000 a month to handle the city's wastewater, but now, Westlake Mayor Dan Cupit says, Sulphur wants to charge $44,000 a month. 

"If you go from 26 to 44 that's a 70 percent increase. Our bill would then go from $19 a month to $28 a month. If we pass it to the consumer, that's a pretty hefty increase," said Cupit.

That's nine dollars a month -- while Cupit says Sulphur residents bills went up only 75 cents per month.

"Sulphur going 75 cents; us going nine dollars: that's a big difference," said Cupit.

Sulphur Mayor Chris Duncan says the Sulphur wastewater facility was built in 2008 at a cost of $32 million and that they're still paying for it.  His people pay a sales tax that helps to offset their share of the cost. 

"Why is our increase less than their increase? Well, our citizens also pay an additional half cent sales tax which is used for sewer, water and streets which offsets this for our citizens here in Sulphur," said Duncan.

He also says Sulphur increases have been phased in gradually.

"Back on 7/1 of '11 we went up a dollar.  7/1 of '13 we went up 75 cents. But we think the number we gave them is fair and economical because our citizens paid to build this plant with $32 million dollars,"said Duncan.

Duncan says Sulphur charges double to anyone outside the city who uses the plant, unless there's a contract with other arrangements. Duncan says he's open to some type of compromise with Westlake.

Officials from both cities met this afternoon.  No word yet whether any compromise may have been reached.

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