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Cottonwood Shores to raise water rates for users outside city limits

Cottonwood Shores skate park

Lights are being turned off at dusk at the city of Cottonwood Shores skatepark, located at the corner of Maple Lane and Brookwood Drive, to try to prevent loitering and vandalism. Staff photo Jennifer Fierro

Twenty-two homes and businesses outside of Cottonwood Shores that use the city’s water and wastewater system will see a rate increase to their monthly bills. 

During the council meeting Thursday, Dec. 3, city staff asked councilors to consider charging twice the rate charged to in-city users. 

The council voted 5-0 to proceed with an increase. Now, staff are preparing an ordinance complete with dollar figures to present to the council during its Dec. 17 meeting. 

“What they did was they approved the concept of doubling the rates,” city administrator J.C. Hughes said. “This only applies to 22 out-of-city-limits customers, not in-city customers whatsoever.” 

Hughes said the biggest reason for the increase is what it costs the city to provide the services. He noted that one water line services half of these customers and it constantly breaks. So, they send city crews to fix it, no matter the time of day or night. That costs the city overtime. 

“Our in-city customers pay for all that,” he said. “Everyone needs to pay their own way.”

He and Mayor Donald Orr noted that residents also pay property taxes, which help offset the city’s operating expenses. 

“We’ve been talking about the increase for several months,” Orr said. “It’s not a significant amount of people outside the city. We didn’t do this for the money. It was to get these folks to pay their share.”

The council also voted to continue turning off the lights at the city’s skate park at dusk to safeguard it against vandalism and other questionable activities.

Orr noted the city paid more than $6,000 on paint to cover illegal graffiti at the facility. 

“It’s turned into a congregational place for people to drink beer there at night,” he added. “That’s not what it’s for. It was put there for skaters.”

A suggestion was made that city staff collect a reservation fee of about $10 from someone who wants to use the skatepark after dark to turn the lights on. 

“That way, we know who’s there and who’s responsible,” the mayor said. “I think that may at least resolve it.”

Parks Committee Chairwoman Andrea Stephens said she would take the reservation fee suggestion to the full committee and report report back to the City Council in two weeks.  

jfierro@thepicayune.com