Berwick council approves water rate increases

By JEAN L. KAESS

BERWICK — New water rates for Berwick residents were adopted Tuesday along with the amended past and current fiscal year budgets.

No public comment was expressed Tuesday regarding any of the items.

Berwick Mayor Louis Ratcliff said rates have not risen in eight years, but costs have increased by 40 percent, spurring the need for the increase which will take effect with the October bill. The ordinance not only raises rates, but creates a new set of assessments for commercial users who resell water or use the water to make a product for resale.

The new section of the ordinance applies to “any business that uses water obtained from the town and resells the water (e.g. fuel dock, ice house, seafood dock, car wash, service station or other similar uses) or uses the water to make a product for resale (e.g. oil field service company, cement company or other similar users),” the ordinance states, adding that these definitions shall be liberally interpreted.

For commercial services, rates will be $15 for the first 3,000 gallons per month and $4.95 for each 1,000 gallons or a fraction thereafter. The minimum charge each month is $15.

Residential customers can expect their charges to increase from $7.10 for the first 3,000 gallons to $10, which is the minimum. After 3,000 gallons, for each 1,000 gallons, customers will pay $4.25 per unit, up from the current $3.11, if the measure is approved.

Outside of the town’s incorporated area, those served by Berwick’s water works will go from paying $7.35 for the first 3,000 gallons to $12.50 per month. After that, each 1,000 gallons utilized will cost $4.75, up from $3.36.

In other action, the Berwick Town Council:

—Approved the amended 2011-12 fiscal year budget and 2012-13 budget as introduced in August.

—Approved a partial payment request of $225,190 to LA Contracting Enterprise and $11,259 to Miller Engineers for Renwick Phase V. Also, the agenda was expanded to include a zero dollar change order affecting only quantity on the project at the request of the engineer.

—Approved a proclamation declaring Oct. 19 to 28 Red Ribbon Week, a resolution of respect for the late Jack Boudreaux, a parade permit for the National Night Out Against Crime on Oct. 2 and a resolution of recognition for Harold Adams who retired Sept. 1 after 40 years of water treatment for the town.

—Announced the next U.S. Army Corps of Engineers levee inspection within the town’s limits will be Monday, the replacement for Boudreaux on the Berwick-Bayou Vista Joint Waterworks Commission Board is Herb Mashburn and nine official holidays will be observed by the town.

—Announced Councilwoman Jacki Ackel will serve on the anti-litter committee and Troy Lombardo will join the recreation committee. Both are assuming former Councilwoman Penny Crappell’s committee assignments. Currently three or four members are needed on the recreation committee. Anyone interested in serving is urged to contact Lombardo through town hall, he said.

All members of the council were present Tuesday.

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