City Sewer Rates to Increase

Monthly sewer rates will go up for the town of Coushatta on May first. The rate hike was approved Tuesday at the Town Council meeting.

Coushatta Mayor, Dr. Johnny Cox said, “I am responsible for the increase. I don’t want the citizens to blame the council. This had to be done. And I’ll take responsibility.”

The town received a presentation from Ken Terry with LRWA, a firm that analyzes rural utility rates.  He said the total operating expenses for sewer service is $295,806.51 per year.  Last year the town took in $69,998.73 by charging $2.00 per month per customer.  Terry said, “There is no way the town can keep operating with that type of a loss.  You are charging $2.00 per 1,000 gallons of water used.  Sewer service cannot be that cheap!”

The proposed new rate would be the same as the charge for water or a base fee of $21.00 per month.  In addition, residential customers would pay $4.50 per additional 1,000 gallons of water used.  That would make the base residential fee for water and sewer $42.00 per month.  Customers using more water would pay more per month. 

Also, there will now be a different rate charged businesses.  The commercial base rate for sewer service would be $85.00 per month.  Commercial customers would also pay $4.50 per additional 1,000 gallons of water used.

Terry noted that the $2.00 rate for sewer service had been in effect since 2009.  Prior to that the fee was $1.00 per month.  He said, “You have been fortunate all these years only paying $2.00 for sewer service.  You are not putting any money into the sewer system for infrastructure and repairs.  You are getting behind.”

Only Councilman John Henry was not there Tuesday night.  The resolution to establish the new sewer rates passed 4-0.  The new rate will take effect with the May utility bills.  Although the resolution passed on Tuesday, Mayor Cox said the council will vote again next month when everyone is present so that the measure could pass unanimously.  However the vote taken Tuesday put the new rates into effect.

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