Citizens question water bills

Published 4:11 am Friday, January 26, 2018

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Bogalusa City Council, citizen Mervin Taylor asked Mayor Wendy Perrette if something could be done to lessen the high water bills that resulted recently from residents running water to keep their pipes from freezing.

“The water is just going down in the ground,” he said. “That’s a big bill to pay. I’m okay, but poor people don’t have it. If you want to charge it, do it. But there will be a recall. Everybody in Bogalusa is on SSI or welfare.”

Perrette responded that she had put that question to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.

“He told me it’s not allowed,” she said. “They could put me in jail. It’s illegal to give away public funds.”

Perrette said later that she requested an opinion from the state Attorney General last year, “when we had people with busted pipes, and I didn’t think it was right to make them pay if they didn’t know about it.”

She said in accordance with that opinion, the city may not adjust a citizen’s sewer bill due to a broken water pipe on the customer’s side of the meter, absent an error on the part of the city. The city may also not forgive or set aside a customer’s water bill due to leaks on the customer’s side of the meter. The state, however, does allow the city to extend the time period payment of abnormally high water bills.

“We’ve always worked with people,” Perrette said.

The only business the council conducted was to unanimously pass an ordinance authorizing the mayor to accept Victor Robinson’s bid on surplus property.

Councilwoman Tamira Smith first thanked Perrette and Director of Public Works James Hall for the work the city is doing at the Bogalusa Cemetery, then she advised people that the “What’s Next? College Tour 2018” will concentrate on Tennessee this year. The tour, which welcomes ninth to eleventh graders to tour seven universities and two museums, will be held June 18-22.

For additional information, call Smith at 985-732-9444 or Daphne Donaldson at 225-276-2448, or check out online.

The next council meeting will take place at Bogalusa City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 5:30 p.m.