Patterson Council bumps up water rates

By: MACK SPENCER

PATTERSON — Council members approved an overhaul of the city’s water rates after a public hearing on the ordinance drew no public comments.

The new plan systematically increases rates to a new base cost for all customers in 2014, then begins a program of automatic annual increases of 2 percent for all customers starting in 2015.

The coming increases include:

—For city residents, $11.66 in 2012, $13.33 in 2013, $15 in 2014, plus $5 per 1,000 gallons after the first 2,000 gallons.

—For non-resident homeowners, $12.50, $15 and $17.50, plus $5.25 per extra 1,000 gallons.

—For city businesses, $16.66, $23.33 and $30, plus $7.50 per extra 1,000 gallons.

—For businesses outside the city limits, $18.33, $26.66 and $35, plus $8 per extra 1,000 gallons.

The increases, which passed unanimously, will help the city make bond payments for the financing of the proposed new water plant.

“We’re working on an almost $10 million” project, Mayor Rodney Grogan said. “The longer it takes, the more (the cost) is going to go up.”

City Engineer Clay Breaud from Gulf South Engineering told the council that a report on the existing water plant has been sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for review and approval.

An inspection of the existing water plant showed “it’s really in pretty good shape,” Breaud said. “The idea is, once the new plant is built, we’ll refurbish the old one.”

The company has completed about 25 percent of the design for the new plant, he said.

Breaud also reported that the contract for construction of Catherine Street’s new sidewalks was signed Thursday, and is to be completed within 75 days, though the contractor may not begin construction until near the end of the month.

The city’s bond consultants said they are talking with Patterson State Bank and M C Bank about jointly financing the project bonds, or either or both could partner with a larger bank. They are discussing property tax rates with the parish assessor’s office, as well.

A resolution on the water plant’s construction was removed from the agenda.

In other business, council members:

—Approved an amended agreement with the parish school board to purchase an old bus from Morgan City High School. The agreement had to be approved again, after its original acceptance in March, because of an extra cost incurred by the school board to prepare the bus for transfer. The council made the purchase for $7,000 rather than the original price of $6,500.

—Passed a resolution to base tax sales on a property’s appraised value, rather than the amount of the outstanding tax bill.

—Affirmed the appointments of Veronica Johnson to the Patterson Housing Authority and Steve Bierhorst as public works supervisor. Though Bierhorst is a parish councilman, Grogan said there is no legal conflict of interest because Bierhorst does not have the check-signing power of the parish president.

—Recognized second-grade Cleanest City poster contest winners Kalieja Guy, first place; Mikah Ortiz, second place; and Aki LeBlanc, third place.

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