Pointe Coupee residents receive water bill sticker shock

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VENTRESS- Hundreds of residents in Pointe Coupee Parish opened their mail last week and were left with sticker shock.

In September, Pointe Coupee Parish Water District 1 purchased "M and S" water for $150,000. The parish is now forcing all previous customers of M and S water to pay $100 in deposits and a $15 service fee due on January 31, 2018. Approximately 450 residents who did not have water meters will also be charged $175 that will be paid over the next two years. 

Residents like Casey Lacaze are outraged.

"I don't believe it's fair period to have to pay a connect fee, new customer fee, to any company that bought out another one," Lacaze said. "When you've been a customer for them for 50 years, we're not new customers...we are on going customers."

The notice affects residents living in Ventress, Jarreau, Glynn and those off Chenal Road.

"A lot of people I know have been on the system for 40 years, and they aren't doing anything different," Lacaze said.

Those in charge of the Water District said the extra money is needed to shore up and run the system. Ray Jarreau sits on the Water Board for Water District 1. Jarreau said for years people have been complaining about M and S water. In fact, he said the parish decided to buy it in September when the existing owner couldn't afford to maintain the old piping and antiquated systems.

"They had problems," Jarreau said. "The system was outdated and some of the wells were giving problems."

Jarreau said the Water Board understands that times are tight, but said the money is necessary to keep the system in the black.

"We have to keep people with good water and at the same time, we have an obligation to the water district," Jarreau said.

Tonight, residents like Lacaze say they want clean water, but they believe the parish did an awful job communicating with the public about this. They feel like they are being taken for a ride just before the holidays.

"It's the principle to me," Lacaze said. "How do you justify buying a company as a parish and turn around and throw a fee to them?"

The affected households have all been notified by mail according to the Water District. Board members say those who don't pay by January 31st will most likely have their water shut off unless people can prove this causes an extreme hardship.


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