Port commission raises water rates, tables staff salary adjustments

Water rates for Port of West St. Mary customers were raised Tuesday by the port commission.

Special Assistant to the Executive Director David Allain last month proposed a base rate of $13 for the first 1,000 gallons and $2.25 for each 1,000 gallons thereafter. That would cover expenses at the plant, Allain said.

Residential customers on the port system would pay an additional $1, for a new base rate of $8, for the first 1,000 gallons. Allain said they rarely exceed the minimum usage.

The commission approved the rate increase Tuesday.

The commission also approved testing of the water well that the system utilizes for quality and performance.

Allain told the commission that a wireless Internet service, Gulf Coast Broadband, is preparing to erect a tower on the port site to provide service to customers.

Engineers are readying concrete specifications to support the tower, which will be installed near the entry to the port.

Allain said he is also continuing to pursue natural gas service to the port.

Also Tuesday, Allain was prepared to propose salary adjustments for office personnel but the commission decided to send the matter to committee for further study.

On motion of Commissioner Will Terry, the item was tabled and sent to a committee to be established by President Tad Blevins. That committee would return with recommendations next meeting. Commissioner Ralph Longman offered a second.

Terry, Longman, Calvin Deshotel and Blevins will be members.

In other business, Commissioner Phil Bell urged the commission to send a delegation to a Kenyan trade conference at the end of July.

Bell said the African continent is a vast economic resource for foreign business interests, which China and others are already investing in.

Incentives are excellent, Bell said, because Africa has extensive resources but is in need of training and expertise to utilize them, where foreign interest can come in and assist.

Bell said a coalition with port, parish and state economic development representatives can be on the proverbial ground floor in such an opportunity.

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