DONALDSONVILLE — City Council members got a first glance Tuesday at the city’s proposed 2015-16 fiscal year budget, which could include a $2 per thousand cubic feet average monthly increase in natural gas prices for customers.
City Financial Director Sandra Williams gave the council a short overview of the proposed fiscal plan, which calls for total revenues and expenditures to each come in at around $7 million.
Williams said that the city is looking to hike gas fees from $11.18 per thousand cubic feet average cost per customer to a possible $13.27 per ccf average rate. The increase would help the city cover debt service and increases in operations costs, as well as to fill estimated losses.
“If you don’t increase (gas fees), losses would be at around $42,000 a year,” Williams told the council.
Sullivan said the city must also plan to complete replacement of aging cast iron gas lines, allowing for more pounds per square inch of natural gas to be pushed through the system.
“We all want the city to grow, but how can we handle growth if our gas pressure is low,” the mayor asked. “We can’t run the gas any higher because of the current infrastructure.”
Estimated costs to complete the line replacement are currently at $6.6 million, Williams said.
The council will discuss the budget further at a special committee of the whole meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. A public hearing and vote on the plan are scheduled for the council’s May 12 regular meeting.