BAKER — The City Council has approved municipal water and sewer rate increases for Baker’s new metering system.

Beginning Sept. 1, the residential city water rate will be $9 per month and the commercial rate will be $12 monthly, with both groups also paying $1.50 more for each 1,000 gallons of water consumed.

The minimum amount charged for a residence will be $10.50, according to the rate formula.

Rates for residential water users outside the city will be a $12 per month and $15 for commercial water customers outside the city, with both groups also paying $2.25 more for each 1,000 gallons of water.

The reduced $3 flat rate given to 892 seniors is illegal because it causes the city to lose money, City Attorney Ron Wall said during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Effective Sept. 1, senior citizens will pay the regular residential rate of at least $10.50 a month.

The senior rate has been in effect for many years, although no one has ever questioned its legality, officials said.

Beginning Sept. 1, the city’s sewer service rate for residential users will be $9 a month and commercial users will pay $15 per month, officials said.

Both residential and commercial sewer service users, however, also will pay $1.50 for each additional 1,000 gallons water used.

The city-parish records the amount of water Baker uses and divides it by the number of households, so households pay the maximum allowable for sewer service, Mayor Harold Rideau said.

It’s the most expensive item on Baker’s utility bills, he said. The new meters will change that so residents will pay only for what they use, he said.

“We must make sure all our citizens are aware of dripping faucets and leaking toilets that waste water,” said Julie McCulloch, the city’s public works director.

The city-parish government will average water usage the first three months of metering to determine new sewer rates for Baker, McCulloch added.