Gulfport Water Rate Increase Seems Imminent

A presentation to the City Council yesterday made it clear that Gulfport water customers are facing a steep rate increase.

A computer slide show organized by the Public Works Department indicated that a 20 percent rate increase is needed to cover Gulfport's existing water-and sewer-related debt. The average bill per 8-thousand gallons of city water is $53.43. A 20 percent increase would put that bill at $64.11.

Gulfport is making debt payments on 50 million dollars it borrowed to help pay for 126 million dollars worth of federally mandated upgrades to its water and sewer infrastructure. Those payments will jump from 5 million dollars to about 6 million dollars next year and the city has yet to devise a plan to pay for the increase.

The council is holding a series of workshops this week to review budget requests from each of the city's administrative departments.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.