Clayton aldermen

CLAYTON ALDERMAN Willie Evans and Alderman Abdul Sabir look over the village’s proposed fiscal year budget during Tuesday night’s meeting. (Sentinel photo by Joe Curtis)

Water rates may possibly be increasing again for Clayton residents.

Mayor Wilbert Washington and aldermen discussed the possible increase Tuesday evening at their regular June meeting.

Two major items led to the discussion of raising water prices.

Chemicals used to treat the water has nearly tripled and the cost of having JCP Inc. to run Clayton’s water plant has caused a financial burden for the village.

“I hate to do it, but we have to look at it,” Washington said.

In 2021, Clayton increased water rates to its residents.

The previous hike in rates was a necessity for the village after State of Louisiana officials stopped paying for a water and waste water plant operator. The operator had been paid by Louisiana since 2018.

In order to move forward on the possible rate increase, Town Council members gave Washington permission to ask Louisiana Rural Water Association to perform a water rate study.

In related business, Washington and aldermen revisited a possible gas rate adjustment. The group previously discussed raising rates in their May meeting.

“Right now, we have a flat rate of $22 for the first 1,000 cubic feet,” Washington said. “After that, it is an adjusted rate. We are being charged upward of $6 per cubic foot. I now suggest we contact the Municipal Gas Association. We get the monthly rate, and we set up a markup.”

The markup would pay for Clayton’s certificated gas operator and maintenance of the system. According to Washington, Clayton is using losing money each month to pay for their gas.

“We have to adjust with the gas prices of today,” Washington said.

Town Council members tabled the matter, so they may research the matter further.

Meanwhile, Clayton’s proposal 2022-2023 fiscal year budget was introduced.

The proposed budget featured approximately $207,000 in expenditures while boasting some $217,000 in revenues.

In the proposed budget, Clayton’s largest expense was salaries at some $60,000, garbage contract at $50,000 and principal to debt service at $10,000.

The principal of debt service is Clayton’s note to Concordia Bank and Trust Co. During the meeting, Washington said the village was now making monthly payments to the bank.

The village’s fiscal year begins each July. The budget serves as a guide for town officials financially.

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