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New Orleans Council Considering Major Rate Hike For Sewerage and Water Board

By Eileen Fleming

The New Orleans City Council is set to vote later today on a proposed rate hike for the sewer and water board. Political muscle is being flexed to get it passed.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu calls the vote one of the most important taken by the city council in years. He’s urging voters to press their councilmembers to pass the rate hike. Earlier this week he announced a job training plan with Delgado Community College aimed at training workers to improve the system. Councilmember-at-Large Jackie Clarkson says the aging system leaks almost half the water it pumps. They’re backing a plan to raise rates 10 percent a year for the next eight years. Opponents are claiming raising rates would hurt those least able to pay higher bills. Council President Stacy Head says she wants more information on how to get more for supplies now being provided to public agencies. The Bureau of Governmental Research says it supports the rate hike, as long as it’s properly supervised. If approved, the increased rates will start in January.

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