DENHAM SPRINGS-City Council members reduced the size of a proposed increase in the price of natural gas Thursday for municipal customers.
Meeting as the city’s Finance Committee, council members downsized a proposed increase in natural gas prices from 35 cents per 100 cubic feet of gas used to 20 cents.
That increase, which will come up for final action at the council’s June 14 meeting, would be separate from any changes in what the city pays for natural gas.
Those costs get passed on to customers.
Mayor Jimmy Durbin has pushed for an increase in the price the city charges for providing natural gas, saying the city’s utility fund-which receives revenue from gas, water and sewage services-is running at a large deficit and can’t pay for needed improvements.
The 35-cent increase would have cost the average gas customer an additional $13.60 per month, while the proposed 20-cent increase would cost the average gas customer $7.77 a month, City Treasurer Clarence Speed said.
The 20-cent price boost would provide the city’s utility fund an additional $620,000 a year, he said.
The city’s natural gas operation extends beyond the city limits into other parts of Livingston Parish as well as into eastern East Baton Rouge Parish.
At a council meeting last month, most speakers opposed the 35-cent gas increase and a $5-per-month increase in water service for all customers.
The council put off acting on the proposed gas-rate increase until its next meeting, and agreed to discuss it at the Finance Committee meeting, which occurred Thursday.
The entire council participates in the Finance Committee meetings.
At last month’s meeting, council members voted 3-2 to increase the cost of providing water service to city customers by $5 a month beginning July 1.
The cost per household using 8,000 gallons of water a month will rise from $21.48 to $26.48 a month, according to figures provided by the city.
That change also includes future increases based on the Consumer Price Index.
Council members Chris Davis, Annie Fugler and Arthur Perkins voted for the water fee increase, which was opposed by council members Lori Lamm-Williams and John Wascom.