The increase is expected to be addressed in Tuesday's city council meeting. (Photo source: WLOX file)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
Water and sewer rates are going up in Biloxi, but it's all part of a long-term plan that officials say will help all of the city's residents in the end.
The 4 percent increase is expected to be addressed in Tuesday's city council meeting. The raise is the third in a series of five incremental increases intended to make city water and sewer pay for itself instead of relying on property tax and gaming revenues.
Utility rates have been increased over the last two fiscal years and are expected to continue going up for the next two years. Biloxi officials say the increase will help offset the funds currently received from the Gaming Commission, which are used for various improvements around the city.
"The gaming money could be [put toward] quality of life improvements, whether it's new parks, whether it's improved streets and drainage, whether it's lower city property taxes, "said city spokesman Vincent Creel. "We haven't had a property tax increase in Biloxi in close to 25 years because of gaming."
In the ordinance on this week's city council agenda, officials say it is necessary to adjust the fees charged for utility services. Fees will be raised for all utility services, including metered water and sewer rates.
The increase is expected to start showing up on customer's utility bills at the beginning of the next fiscal year, which starts October 1, 2017.
A detailed look at the increases for each service can be found in the ordinance below: