- Associated Press - Saturday, January 18, 2014

WESTWEGO, La. (AP) - The City Council has voted to raise water and sewerage rates by 25 percent

The Times-Picayune reported (https://bit.ly/1a49S4n) rates will rise by 12.5 percent now, followed by another 12.5 percent increase in January 2015.

Westwego Councilman Glenn Green sought the incremental increase during a testy budget debate stemming from Mayor Johnny Shaddinger’s revised request for a 20 percent increase in rates - half the 40 percent increase he initially sought.

The City Council also this past week approved the city’s 2014 budget, a $17 million spending plan Shaddinger presented in December.

Shaddinger said the water and sewerage rate increases are needed to reduce subsidies for the water department from the city’s general fund.



City accountant Jim Butler told the council that “a decent cushion, a decent fund balance” for Westwego, based on its $17 million operating budget, would be $2 million. With the water-sewerage rate increase, the unrestricted fund balance would be just over $200,000.

City Councilman Larry Warino in December proposed a spending plan that included a 12.5 percent water and sewerage rate increase. His proposal also called for across-the-board reductions in city department funding that included cutting out the parks superintendent post and reducing overtime costs.

When his effort failed, Green offered the motion to increase the rate now by 12.5 percent, followed by a 12.5 percent increase in a year. It passed unanimously.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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