City Council to vote on Monroe water rate increase

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A plan to hike water rates goes back to the Monroe City Council this week.

Mayor Jamie Mayo proposed the rate increase three weeks ago. Now he's asking the council to approve it.

The mayor and the council agree on one thing: Water in Monroe is a top priority.

"We know that water is a great resource and it's very important to our businesses, our schools, our churches restaurants and homes," Mayor Mayo says.

That's why they're planning to expand the water plant.

"If you've ever been to the plant in some cases it's in bad condition,” Councilman Michael Echols says. “We really haven't done a great job over the last number of years of maintaining it to the degree that it needs to be maintained."

But finding the money for it is where they're struggling.

The mayor is proposing a rate increase, which will only add a few dollars to each bill. "I want to say that the amount that we're proposing is less than a combo burger," Mayo says.

His plan would give the city an extra $6 million a year, something Councilman Echols doesn't think is necessary.

"What I’ve asked is that we go back and look at how we can do it instead of raising $6 million additional a year, if we only find $3 million a year that would facilitate the infrastructure growth," Echols says.

Echols says he's optimistic, but it's an idea that needs more time to develop.

"We need to find something, some common ground in the middle, and find a way to make this work but I don't think tomorrow night we'll have that," he says.

Councilman Echols also says the president's recent infrastructure bill means the city could get additional funding for the project, so he believes the city should wait until they find out more.