Jefferson Parish utility rates set to increase for nearly 20 years

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 5:55 PM CST
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JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish utility bills are increasing again and will continue to increase for nearly two more decades.

According to Jefferson Parish leaders, the money generated will help combat aging infrastructure.

“Your pipes are underground. When they break, they don’t just affect your water and sewer, they affect your street above, your businesses get disrupted, etc.,” said Mark Drewes, Jefferson Parish director of public works. “The longer you wait to replace them, really what’s happening is the worse you’re going to make your other infrastructure that surrounds those pipes as well.”

In 2021, the Jefferson Parish Council approved annual rate increases for 20 years. The new utility rate increase will go into effect in January 2024. The average user will see an increase of roughly $13 per month.

“I think the people understand that if you want a system that works, then it was incumbent on us to raise our rates,” Drewes said.

The parish is dedicated to the millions generated to replace water pipes, and sewer pipes and installing automated meters. The parish is also aiming to install generators at lift stations and refurbish water towers.

“It was important to get a rate increase that can not only start us off on a replacement program but keep that replacement going in the future,” Drewes said.

Utility bills in Jefferson Parish include water, sewerage, garbage, mosquito control, and a fee from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The Parish bills every other month. The largest fee on utility bills is garbage, but water consumption will factor into the overall cost.

“If you manage your water, you can then manage that bill,” Drewes said. “It’s very good for those that are elderly or on fixed incomes.”

Compared to New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Drewes said Jefferson Parish users still pay less.

“Roughly for water, we’re about half of what you’d pay in Orleans for that average bill,” Drewes said. “We’re still under Baton Rouge by probably about $6 less per month. When you go to sewer, it’s more drastic. It’s almost a quarter of what you’re paying in Orleans and we’re less than half what you’d be paying in Baton Rouge.”

During a recent council meeting, some Jefferson Parish residents complained about higher-than-normal bills. The council recommended residents contact the water department to ensure meters are reading properly and that there are no leaks.

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