Biloxi planning to reduce water bills by $60/year

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Many Biloxi residents say they are shocked at how much their water bills have gone up. Now City Council members say 'help is on the way' thanks to changes in Harrison County Utility authority rates. The city is aiming to save the average customer $60 a year on their water bill.

Biloxi City Council members called a special meeting Tuesday to tackle the issue.

"Today was just an informational meeting to present to the council an update on where we are with the water and sewer fund balance, and what changes could be made to it going forward," said engineer J. Kreg Overstreet. "There's been some changes with the financing with the utility authority and the city itself. So because of that, we're able to possibly lower the rates or keep them the same."

He said keeping the rates the same would allow the water and sewer balance to run a surplus, which would eventually go back to the city. He said either option is beneficial to residents in the long run.

"It looks like if we continue on where we are right now, we'll have a surplus," said Councilman Bill Stallworth. "We want to apply that surplus back into the water and sewer program so that we can actually provide smaller reductions to the city of Biloxi."

The city is also looking into utilizing computerized meter readers to help cut costs.

"Right now, we're paying about $675,000 a year for meter readers. We could reduce that substantially if we go into these computerized meters."

Whatever decision is made, council members promise they're working hard on Biloxi's behalf.

"We're going to do everything we can to try to ease the burden on the citizens, while still protecting our employees and continually providing the services that this city needs to have," Stallworth said.

No formal vote was taken Tuesday, but council members said they liked what they saw.

A final decision should come in the next few weeks. Any change would go into effect in October.

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