Carencro utility rates could increase

Residents could see increases in their water, sewage and natural gas bills to cover annual operating losses in the city’s utilities department that rose to $162,277 last year.

The Carencro City Council is expected to introduce proposed rate increases next month, Carencro Mayor Glenn Brasseaux said Monday.

The amount of the rate adjustment has yet to be determined, he said, but the goal is to bring rates up enough to cover the losses.

“I don’t know of any elected person in the world who likes to raise rates,” Brasseaux said.

He said the operating loss means that utilities services are being subsidized from other areas of the budget.

“That’s money that should be used in other places,” Brasseaux said.

The mayor said he could not recall the last time that the City Council considered a major adjustment in utility rates.

Customers have seen slight inflationary adjustments over the years, but Brasseaux said those adjustments have not kept pace with the rising expenses tied to operating the city’s water, sewage and gas systems.

“It’s just one of the facts of life,” Brasseaux said of the increasing cost of operating utility services.

The operating loss was noted as an issue of concern in the city’s annual audit, which was made public last week.

Brasseaux said the council is expected to introduce new rates at the July 15 council meeting and make a final vote in August.

If the council raises utility rates, the new rates would probably not be seen on customers’ bills until October, Brasseaux said.

Carencro has 2,457 water customers, 2,165 sewage customers and 799 gas customers, according to figures from the most recent audit.

The biggest operating loss for last year was in the water department — $105,198, according to the audit.

The sewage service had an operating loss of $29,471 and the gas service had an operating loss of $27,608, according to the audit.