New Orleans residents may have to pay drainage fee on water bill - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

New Orleans residents may have to pay drainage fee on water bills

New Orleans, La. -

New Orleans, La.- The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board needs to come up with money to pay for drainage projects. According to our partners at The Lens, the board is now looking to an independent consultant to figure out if and how a drainage fee should be applied to resident's water bills.

Josh Jansen pays over $100 each month for his water bill. "It's one of the bills that seem the most unreasonable," Jansen said. The New Orleans homeowner says the recent decision by the New Orleans City Council to double water rates by 2020, is one that will certainly affect his pockets.

Now, the Sewerage and Water Board must find a way to pay for drainage projects in the city. According to our partners at The Lens, on Tuesday, the board's finance committee gave preliminary approval to extend a contract with Raftelis, a consulting company, tasked with developing a fee for residents to pay, in order to fund drainage projects.

The idea of possibly having to pay more money a month isn't sitting well with many residents. "They just raised the rate. If they feel they need more money, they should find it elsewhere," said Jansen. Resident Jessie Saxton added, "Every time you turn around there's an increase, an increase in the fees."

In 2011, the consulting company proposed a drainage fee that would call for a single family residence to pay $4 a month....the figure would gradually increase, so that seven years later, that family would be paying $22 a month. The board never took action on the fee proposal. Instead, the board is expected to ask the consulting company to once again recommend a rate structure and develop a timeline for implementation of a drainage fee.

Uptown resident Jeffrey Hall knows a thing or two about drainage issues saying, "I've lost a tenant downstairs due to floods and it's hard to keep anyone on the first floor." Hall says his street, Jefferson Avenue, used to flood all the time...that is until a few years ago, when the city did some drainage work, which cleared up the problem. Hall says while paying more money for any utility is never ideal, it is something he would consider. "I will support the bill if it'll lower my flood insurance costs and increase the value of my property," said Hall.

The Sewerage and Water Board says any decision on a drainage fee is a long way off, and it's a decision that would have to be approved by the taxpayers first.

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