Council passes pew water policy to help on bills

Deidre Cruse

Plaquemine officials acted last week to make it easier for City Light & Water customer to certify repairs of leaks and to get a billing credit.

For minor problems, a city crewman might make the repair for a customer.

“In the event the water leak is minimal, requiring very little labor and materials (for example, 15 minutes or less and only one clamp need to stop the leak), the city may repair the water leak without charge,” according to the new ordinance.

Under the city’s old policy, a City Light required a plumber’s certification as evidence that a repair had been completed. The certification was required in order for the customer to be eligible for excess water fees brought on as a result of the leak.

The new policy allows customers to provide the plumber’s certification of a repair, but also allows a city worker to inspect and certify the work.

That will be helpful to customers who can make their own repairs, according to Mayor Mark A. “Tony” Gulotta who proposed the new policy.

“This does give us a little more flexibility to help our customers out,” the mayor said.

He said the city recently has identified some 300 water leaks around the city.

“It’s not about leaking water,” Gulotta aid, but about customers saving $30 to $40 a month on their water bills, plus an equal amount of savings on sewer bills.

The mayor said he had noticed that most residents who get into trouble paying their city utility bills have water leaks driving up their costs.

In other action last week, asked housing consultant Roberto Macedo of Baton Rouge about the availability of additional federal housing rehabilitation money, particularly to provide weatherization of houses with low income owners.

Macedo said there appeared to be stimulous package set aside for community development block grants.

Macedo attended the council meeting to report that a second of seven Annex Street houses being refurbished or rebuilt with a $600,000 community development block grant has been completed.

A three bedroom house destroyed by fire was completed last year; the city council accepted a two-bedroom house as substantially complete last week, and a third house is under