'Hundreds' of East Baton Rouge residents included in Ascension sewer deal will not see automatic rate hikes
BATON ROUGE - In East Baton Rouge Parish there are 14 sewer treatment plants and hundreds of homes serviced that could become part of a regional consolidated sewer system if the Ascension Parish Council approves the 30 year, $215 million contract.
In the last few days, a deal has been reached that would prevent the fraction of East Baton Rouge residents affected from seeing an automatic rate increase. If the deal is approved, rates will be set by the Ascension Parish Council.
"They weren't going to have a voice to voice those concerns to the rate-setting body if it changed from the Public Service Commission to the Ascension Parish Council," East Baton Rouge Metro Councilman, Trae Welch, said.
Welch, who oversees District 1, which includes Zachary, has helped spearhead an effort to help East Baton Rouge residents have a voice when it comes to the fees they would have to pay.
"The private treatment plants in East Baton Rouge Parish will not be increased to support building facilities in Ascension Parish," Welch said.
In the future, the East Baton Rouge residents included in the system could see higher costs. However, they would have to get something in return for Ascension Parish to raise their fees.
"East Baton Rouge residents are not going to have to pay for Ascension Parish buildouts and infrastructure improvements if there is no benefit derived from those buildouts," Welch said.
The Ascension Parish Council would still set the rates if this deal is approved, but a representative for other parishes impacted, including East Baton Rouge, would be included in those decisions. Welch says this new agreement makes it more fair for residents not living in Ascension Parish that are a part of the new system.
After multiple delays, the Ascension Parish Council is expected to vote on the public-private partnership contract later this month.
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