NEW ORLEANS – The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans met with New Orleans City Council on Tuesday afternoon. While some members of the council believe the agency is showing progression throughout the city, one councilman says otherwise.
During the meeting, the Sewage and Water Board says they’ve improved overall with pumping, canal cleaning, and issues involving power. However, residents say the progress isn’t quick enough and their finances are unfairly impacted.
“Comment number one is ‘I’ve read your high billing flowchart and it is wildly different from what actually happens,'” Councilman Joseph Giarrusso read. “‘When will the system outline the flowchart match reality?'”
“I do want to acknowledge the frustration and the anxiety some of our customers are going through,” Ghassan Korban, the Executive Director of Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans stated. “We’re focusing on maximizing the number of meters because that’s where we think the solution lies.”
Korban also noted the agency will bring in a private company to help read more meters which should lead to an increase of accurate billing. Councilman Giarrusso urged the Sewerage and Water Board to publicly show a commitment to improvement.
“Or, it is my belief, based on the charter, it’s rate-making authority, and the silence of state law – this council is empowered by ordinance to pass billing changes to bring the billing problem to heal. The public is not looking for lip service but better customer service,” Giarrusso explained.
Korban says customer service is a top priority.
“We’re remaining steady. We’re remaining focused and we’re making a lot of progress so we’re feeling very positive about how the year ends,” Korban concluded.
Giarrusso also says sewerage and water rates have each increased 80% since 2012. Korban confirms the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans adjusted the billing cycle to land every 30 days which should also help solve the problem.