Debate over water and sewer rates continues in Laurel

Debate over water and sewer rates continues in Laurel

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - The debate over water and sewer rate increase continues in Laurel.

Mayor Johnny Magee and Councilman Manuel Jones both agree that the water system in Laurel needs a lot of work, but they disagree on how to fix the system.

Mayor Magee proposed increasing the water and sewer rates.

"We were asking for a modest increase. Water was going to increase 34 cents per month and the sewer was going to increase 51 cents," Magee said.

This a a total increase of 85 cents per month, They mayor said that amount is miniscule, but Jones said it will not fix the problem.

"Going up on the rate is not going to generate enough money to pay for the rates that we need to do," Jones said.

Jones said a previous water company told city officials that replacing the water lines in Laurel would cost nearly $100 million.

"We're not trying to figure out a way to remedy that problem," Jones said.

Magee said although the increase is not enough to pay for the problem, it does help.

"It goes a long ways towards fixing the system. We always have sewer collapses, we have leaks everywhere," Magee said.

Jones said there is already a tax increase for the upcoming streets project, so he is looking out for senior citizens.

"No one is trying to give the senior citizens and disability people no kind of relief," Jones said.

"Senior citizens who are 65 and older and their house is worth 65-thousand dollars they don't even pay taxes so, that's not going to bother them," Magee said.