- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 7, 2015

CHALMETTE, La. (AP) - The St. Bernard Parish Council has approved an ordinance amendment that nearly doubled resident’s water and sewer rates, and tripled them for some commercial users.

The council said Tuesday the rate increase will help improve water quality about a year after a brain-eating amoeba was found in its water system.

The parish’s water and sewerage rates had not changed since 1997. Under the increases, the average residence in St. Bernard, which uses about 8,000 gallons of water per month, will see its water rate jump from about $13 a month to $24 a month.

Residential sewer rates are calculated as 90 percent of water usage, meaning the average resident uses about 7,200 gallons a month. The average sewer rate therefore now will increase from about $15 a month to $36 a month.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/1xRzvAD) the parish will use the rate increases to pay acquire and pay interest on two state loans needed for capital improvements — $21 million for water pipes and $10 million for sewer lines. Parish officials have said that the parish could only qualify for those loans with the rate increases.



The council first introduced the ordinance on the increased rates on Nov. 5. The council then tabled its vote on the matter three times. The council had been discussing the increases since the beginning of 2014.

Neisha Encalade, 45, of Violet, said she was against the rate increase because she felt the council instead “should put it on the ballot for the public to vote on it.”

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

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