BOSSIER CITY, La. — The City of Bossier City says it’s no longer going to subsidize water for certain neighborhoods’ landscaping needs, a practice it says has caused a “significant loss” to the general fund.
The Bossier City Council last week agreed to revoke a 1993 resolution that provided for assisting with the beautification of street cul-de-sacs in new or expanding residential subdivisions.
“We looked at the records on file from the billing department over the last three years, and on average it (cost the city) about $42,000 a year,” said Ben Rauschenbach of Manchac Consulting Group, which has a public-private partnership with Bossier City to manage its water and sewer utilities. “That was based on meters that were actually being accounted for. We discovered a number of meters within this process that were not put in that system and were not being accounted for.”
With the city no longer willing to provide the water for free, those neighborhood homeowners associations, or entities that are responsible for providing landscaping in the common areas of those subdivisions, will be billed for the water usage.
“The predominance of these subdivisions have homeowners associations that take care of the landscaping,” Rauschenbach said. “They’re an active body looking out for the well-being of that community. The intent would be that community, much like other communities, bears the burden of ensuring the water stays on.”
Subdivisions that will be affected by the revocation of the resolution are located all over the city, Bossier City Chief Administrative Officer Pam Glorioso told The Times. They include Stonebridge, Plantation Trace, Greenacres Place, Candlewood and Oak Alley.
Councilman David Montgomery said the amount of money that would be returned to the city’s general fund by charging for this water usage could range from $42,000 to $100,000.
“What we’re trying to do is rein in the free water being subsidized by those working class and retirees of Bossier City,” Montgomery said. “That’s money that needs to go back to public safety, and let the people that are utilizing this water. pay for what they’re getting.”
Rauschenbach said his company plans to notify the homeowners associations or entities responsible for the landscaping in the affected neighborhoods about the future billing process.
“In some locations we’ve got to physically go in, add meters and replace meters, things like that,” he said. “Some of that dialogue has already taken place.”
Rauschenbach said he did not yet know the date when the billing will take effect.
Information from: The Times, http://www.shreveporttimes.com