- Kaley Green
SHREVEPORT, La. – Next week Shreveport residents will see whether the City Council will vote to tack on another $9 million or so in fees on top of nearly a half-billion dollars already allocated to the City for infrastructure repairs.
In 2011, citizens voted in favor of a bond issue to give City Hall $175 million for infrastructure work which is outlined by the City here. Then in 2014, the City of Shreveport agreed to a federal consent decree with the EPA to fix the deteriorating water and sewer systems.
Those funds come to a grand total of $525 million set aside for the City to make the necessary repairs to be compliant with EPA standards, fix the streets and avoid further damage.
As part of the consent decree, a schedule has been set to generate more revenue. The following information was taken from the City of Shreveport’s Code of Ordinances.
Sec. 94-165. – Sewerage charges.
The following rates shall be charged for wastewater collection and treatment provided for customers served by the sanitary sewer system of the city. The charges provided in this section are to be for the full payment of the costs of operation and maintenance, including replacement, of the wastewater collection and treatment system.
Monthly sewerage charge. A monthly service charge for all users is established as follows:
Effective October 1, 2013:
Effective January 1, 2015:
Effective January 1, 2016:
Effective January 1, 2017:
Effective January 1, 2018:
Effective January 1, 2019:
Effective January 1, 2020:
Effective January 1, 2021:
Effective January 1, 2022:
From 2013 to 2022, Shreveport residents will see a 78.92 percent increase in sewerage rates, according to the schedule. However, credible sources have indicated this schedule does not accurately reflect bills from 2013, even as late as December that year. The effective rate for sewerage services prior to the increase to $5.55 in 2013 is said to have been less than $4 monthly, according to old bills. That would indicate an increase of about 150 percent by 2022. Water charges are also set to steadily increase until 2022, as seen here.
The Shreveport City Council is set to vote on the 2017 General Fund Budget next Tuesday, Nov. 22. With it, the Council will determine whether citizens will be required to pay $12/mo. for garbage removal services, which are currently billed with water services.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2015 report shows the average hourly wage for Shreveport-Bossier City residents is $18.22, which is 22 percent below the national average.
The fee would likely be a disadvantage to poorer citizens, as it will claim higher percentages of their income than that of wealthier citizens.
Another stipulation of the proposed fee is if one cannot afford to pay the garbage collection fee, or chooses to opt out of the City’s garbage collection, water services are to be shut off as they will be billed together.