Sewer rates increase in Thibodaux - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Sewer rates increase in Thibodaux

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Thibodaux, La. - Teri Fanguy washes away thousands of gallons of water every month. As the owner of Pro Cuts in Thibodaux, rinsing and repeating are part of the job.

The salon and other businesses, along with everyone who pays for wastewater services in Thibodaux, will soon notice their bills going up.

The City Council approved a sewer rate hike this week, adding another $1.09 for every 1000 gallons of water used. The rate increase will be phased in over the next three years.

"An average person using somewhere -- we've always calculated that magic number being about 7,000 gallons -- they would have an increase between seven and eight dollars a month after three years," says Mayor Tommy Eschete.

Eschete says the money would pay for maintenance of the existing sewer system, including the aging treatment plant on the south side of the city. Right now, the facility handles all the wastewater in the city limits and the mayor says it's feeling that burden.

Money generated by the rate increase will also be used to build a new wastewater treatment plant on the north side of the city.

"We have about 3,000 to 3,500 residents that live in there but it's also the area where our main commercial corridor is, which is North Canal Boulevard," says Eschete.

Eschete hopes having additional capacity in the sewer system will encourage more growth in the commercial part of the city. The Department of Transportation and Development already has plans to widen North Canal Boulevard.  The mayor says that project should get underway in the next couple years.

The city will take out a loan from the Department of Environmental Quality for the projects and pay it back with the rate increase. The mayor hopes the improvements will benefit everyone in the northern part of Lafourche Parish.

One councilman voted no on the rate increase. Opponents say a new treatment plant would mainly benefit one developer who should pick up the tab.

While Fanguy doesn't look forward to paying more, she hopes the added costs will translate to additional business.

"We get a lot of walk-ins because of the stores around us," she says. "We have a brand new store next to us.  But there's a couple places in the shopping center that are available that would be great for new businesses and the more new businesses we have, it's better for us."

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