No more free water in Baker
Water in Baker isn't "free" anymore. In just a few short weeks, city leaders expect to start charging residents and businesses by how much they use, instead of the $14 flat fee they've paid in the past.
Some folks have abused the flat fee in the past, using sprinklers installed on rooftops to cool houses down in the summer and even pumping water through outdoor fountains non-stop, 24 hours a day, according to utilities Superintendent LeeRoy White.
"When Sears was here, they used over 100,000 gallons a month-- they done that two months in a row before they fixed two toilets," White said.
New meters will electronically send a measurement of how much water is used to a tower, that will then send it to City Hall, where bills will be sent back.
White said City Hall will be able to track exactly where and when water was used, down to the day, helping customers to pinpoint even a leaky toilet. That's something White says uses thousands of gallons of extra water, but can be fixed with a commode kit for about $18.
Test bills will be sent out for about the next two months, until the City works out all the "bugs" in the billing system.
"If we're overusing water, then it'll give us an opportunity to sort of correct that, and be more thoughtful about what we're consuming each month," Baker resident Terrie Lundy said.
Mayor Harold Rideau believes some could save money on water, as long as they conserve.
The city will charge less than $2 for a thousand gallons of water, Rideau said.
The city paid for the project with $4.7 million in stimulus money.