Harrison Co. Utility Authority hosts hearing for current, future customers

Harrison Co. Utility Authority hosts hearing for current, future customers


The Harrison County Utility Authority held a public hearing in Gulfport on Thursday. It was an opportunity for residents to discuss proposed water and sewer rates for current and future customers who live outside the incorporated areas of Harrison County.

After Hurricane Katrina, a number of water and wastewater facilities were constructed. Harrison County Utility Authority Director Donald Scharr says those facilities are ready to provide services to residents, businesses and public and private utility service providers.

"My job as executive director is to take advantage of the systems that were built, and we're trying to reach out to connect people that are readily available," said Scharr.

Bill Mitchell, with Brown, Mitchell and Alexander Consulting Engineering firm, says they developed the future rates based on typical usage, which is about 6,000 gallons a month.

They forecast $3.05 per thousand gallons, which will cost about $18 for a typical water bill. The sewer rate is $2.97 per thousand gallons. That will run around $18 per month.

"We found that they were reasonable rates, and it covered the cost, "said Mitchell.

Harrison County resident Liz Burchett lives off Highway 53. She took advantage of the public hearing and found out she will not be incorporated. Is she upset?

Burchett says she took the time to have an estimate on how much it would cost to tie in to the system.

"No. We're happy, "said Burchett. “We were afraid of the cost. It's going to be about 15 to 20,000 to hook up.

Scharr says the utility authority approved his recommendation to save thousands of dollars.

"We approved and executed an amendment with our contract operators, "said Scharr. "We're taking over the water operation. That is effective June 1, and we're going to save about $175,000 in a year."

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