The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday voted to turn over delinquent sewer bills to a collection agency for those residents living in subdivisions where the police jury is operating sewer systems. Jury Secretary Treasurer Doug DeVille informed the police jury that there is about $70,000 in back due sewer bills that the parish cannot collect.
When asked if the jury can legally cut off sewer service to those who have not paid their bills, their legal advisor said yes they can but there is no practical way of doing it.
Also, DeVille advised that the parish is losing money because of its low monthly bills. Currently the parish is charging its sewer customers $15 a month. The jury would need to raise its rates to $25 a month just to break even.
There was discussion about raising the sewer rates to $30 a month however several jurors were against doubling the rates. Juror Kevin Veillon said “We should not punish the good for the bad. We should raise the rates slowly.”
Secretary DeVille said there is a private sewer firm that is interested in purchasing all of the parish owned sewer systems. The jury voted to postpone any action on rate increase until the sewer company makes an offer for the systems.
In other business, the police jury voted to call a special meeting later this month to decide on its group health plan. The group health plan will be going up about 5% over last year or an increase of $1600 a month. Jury Secretary Treasurer informed the jury that is the smallest rate increase that he has seen while serving for the jury. In the past, rate increases have ranged from 9-15 percent. There will be no changes in benefits for the parish employees.
In other action, the police jury:
--voted to increase the contribution by $100 a year for each of the five Justices of the Peace and Constables to attend a mandated yearly training conference;
--voted to deny a vehicle damage claim for an accident that occurred in District Six;
--received a report that sales tax collections for January sales amounted to $274,336.