Along with the new year, East Baton Rouge Parish residents and businesses will see higher sewer fees in 2013.
Since Jan. 1, 2004, sewer fees have gone up 4 percent each year, said Mark LeBlanc, an assistant director for the city-parish Department of Public Works.
For an average household — which uses an average of 8,600 gallons of water per month — the sewer fee will go from $40.60 to $42.23 per month, Leblanc said.
“If a house uses less than 8,600 gallons, the volume charge won’t be as much,” LeBlanc said.
In 2004, after the increases went into effect, a home that used 8,600 gallons incurred a $29.67 charge, LeBlanc said.
There are 137,400 customers connected to the city-parish’s sewer system, about 101,600 of whom are residential customers, LeBlanc said.
The minimum charge will go from $17.21 to $17.90, LeBlanc said. To qualify for the minimum charge, a household must use 3,000 gallons or less, he said.
The charge for each additional 1,000 gallons over the minimum will go from $4.17 to $4.34, LeBlanc said.
The annual increase helps fund the city-parish’s Sanitary Sewer Overflow program, a $1.4-billion upgrade of the city-parish’s sewer infrastructure.
The city-parish also levies a half-cent sales tax for sewer system repairs and operations.
The parish is required to upgrade its sewer system under a federal consent decree, which is a settlement agreement contained in a court order. In 2003, the Metro Council approved the ordinance related to the effort. The SSO has a deadline of December 2014, though city-parish officials are negotiating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to have that deadline extended until 2017 or 2018.
The project has $942 million in outstanding debt, LeBlanc said. The city-parish plans to issue another $45 million in bonds for the program in late January or February, he said.
The city-parish will pay about $60 million to bondholders in 2013, LeBlanc said.
The sewer fee is expected to generate $74.4 million in revenue in 2013, he said.