Garbage, water rates going up in Youngsville

The City Council voted Thursday to increase solid waste removal and water rates in two phases over the next nine months.

The council voted 4-0 to approve city CEO Rick Garner’s suggested increases from the solid waste rate of $16 per month to $17 a month effective Dec. 1. The rate will again increase to $18 a month beginning July 1.

The base water rate of $10.50 will remain the same, but the rate of $2.50 per 1,000 gallons used will increase to $2.70 on Dec. 1 and again to $2.80 on July 1.

According to Garner, Youngsville is losing money providing the services.

“At our current level of activity, we are destined to lose a penny per customer for solid waste pickup,” Garner said.

“I also expect an audit to show we are losing money on water. If it remained the same, we would operate at a loss.”

Garner compared rates in Youngsville to those in Lafayette, where residents pay $24.08 for solid waste pickup.

The median household income in Lafayette is $48,591, compared with Youngsville, where it is $77,910.

“The average citizen should be able to afford the increase,” Garner said.

Garner projected the city would lose $57,139 on its water system if it didn’t increase rates.

He proposed either an across-the-board increase in the base rate charged for water from $10.50 per month to $12.50 by July 1, or raising the rates charged per thousand gallons used. The council opted for the latter approach.

“The usage increase would allow families who wish to conserve to do so,” Councilwoman Dianne McClelland said. “An across the board increase would not give those families that opportunity.”

Mayor Wilson Viator agreed with McClelland. Viator also said the city plans to stick with its water system, which purchases approximately 60 percent of its water from Lafayette.

“As long as we cannot drill additional wells, I think we will stay with our system to have a partnership with Lafayette,” Viator said. “If we put our older part of town on a new system, it would bust our old lines.”

Garner said he did not think a future increase would happen, but didn’t not rule out the possibility.

He suggested the council could lower the rates for residents in the event operating costs of the water system decrease.

Councilman Ken Ritter did not attend the meeting.