Don’t blink. You might miss the water bill increase

Nobody likes a rate increase, but the new rates going into effect Oct. 1 for Biloxi water and sewer service and garbage collection might not even be noticed by the vast majority of the city’s 15,000 customers.

The new water rate increases by 2 percent, or about 3 cents a month per thousand gallons for those who use between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons of water, the majority of Biloxi users.

The new garbage and recycling rate increases by 30 cents a month, to $15.10 a month for the weekly service.

“The impact of these rates is far less than the cost you see in everyday life, and we’re glad to be able to hold the line,” said Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, who saw the rates approved unanimously by the Biloxi City Council. “We’re far below anybody around us and our goal is to keep it that way.”

The 2021 comparison, according to Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard, for 4,000 gallons:

Ocean Springs: $11.87

Gulfport: $11.30

Biloxi: $5.83

Biloxi has a water distribution system that includes 11 on-ground and elevated tanks, 23 wells, and 272 miles of distribution pipe.

The sewer collection system includes 116 lift stations, three treatment plants (which the Harrison County Utility Authority is paid to operate), and 210 miles of gravity and 54 miles of force main sewer pipe.

About half of the city’s $16 million in annual collections for water and sewer service are paid to the Harrison County Utility Authority for operating the waste treatment plants, water services, debt payment, and other services.

Revenues collected greater than expenses are invested in extending water-sewer services to those unserved as well as funding repair of the water and sewer system.

Projects now underway include:

– Cleaned, repaired and painted four onground water storage tanks, $135,000

– Cleaned, repaired and painted the Kuhn Street elevated storage tank, $303,000

– Lorraine Road and John Lee Road new water line, $587,000

– Water line replacement in Tanglewood neighborhood of West Biloxi, $1 million.

Projects planned for FY 2021 include:

– Extension of Lorrain Road Water line to city limit, $500,000 (in design)

– New water well in West Biloxi at Bay Vista, $750,000

– Extension of new water line, Lorraine Road to Shorecrest and south to Boyette, $500,000

– Continued cleaning, repair and painting of the elevated water tanks.
FY ’21 budget: The story behind the numbers
See city financial info online