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Parish officials make final push for Ascension residents to approve sewage sale

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Monday marks the end of a large-scale campaign to convince Ascension Parish residents that going private is the right thing to do.

Meetings, ads, and billboards all advertising the need for voters to approve the sale of the parish's sewage system to NWI.

"This is a no-brainer," councilmember Aaron Lawler said.

The parish council and president are all gung-ho to stop unnecessarily supporting their constituents financially.

"Currently we subsidize sewer to three to four million dollars a year to keep people's rates artificially low, 2000 customers. We're going to be able to stop doing that and put that money toward infrastructure, roads, bridges, any transportation needs, drainage, and recreation," Lawler said.

The parish has been posting different renderings of potential projects that money could go toward, including different parks and rec facilities.

But there is a slight catchthe main reason some people are still on the fencethe parish can't say how much their bills will go up if this goes through. Since NWI is a private company, rates will have to be controlled by the Public Service Commission, and they say they won't have a number until after the vote.

"I know there's a limited amount they can make, so it's not like they can go out and gauge the customers by 50% over. It's going to be controlled just like your energy bill is, just like your water bill is. It's all going to be controlled by Louisiana Public Service Commission."

But it may not make a difference, since Lawler says rates will go up regardless.

"For this to fail, I should say, would be detrimental to the parish. We're talking about having to raise rates, if this fails, raise rates on current parish sewer customers by 100, 200 percent."

Early voting has already begun, and residents will decide on the sale this Saturday.


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