ARNAUDVILLE, La. (KLFY) — Arnaudville council held a public hearing to discuss the increase in utility rates. Concerned residents of Arnaudville were present at this meeting to voice their opinions with hopes of getting some answers about the reason rates have to go up.
The new rates are as follows:
- First 2000 gallons of water is a $14 monthly charge
- First 2000 gallons of water in unincorporated areas will be $15.
- First 500 cubic feet of gas per month is $13.50 plus 10% factor of fuel adjustment.
- First 500 cubic feet of gas per month in unincorporated areas is $15.50 plus 10% factor of fuel and other rates.
“We have to cover the cost, so we’re talking about a small increase. Nobody wants to do it, but
that’s the reality,” said Mayor Todd Meche.
The council was quickly met with allegations from concerned citizens about hiking rates to make up for money allegedly stolen by a former city worker in July.
Dakota Arnaud, one of the concerned residents, referred to the audit in the town’s financial report.
“The audit read it was the utility account receivable was not reconciled they did not match up to the ledger, and one of the former town clerks was questioned about it, and then after that, something happened at Townhall, and the mayor called off the investigation because they blamed it on one person who was no longer.”
Arnaud said he believes there was no legal investigation to see where that money had gone.
“It was almost as if he [the mayor] called the sheriff’s office to say hey let’s prove this person guilty. Not let’s find where this money went,” he said.
Arnaud was eventually removed from the meeting for talking over council members when they tried to address allegations and continue the meeting.
“We have been called underhanded. We have been called non-transparent. I have this to say I don’t think you can get more transparent than this Council and this mayor right here. We could have done it very underhandedly. We could have waited until after the election, and we could have passed the date increase then,” said Alderman Jamie Huval.
The mayor addressed the alleged stolen money after the public hearing. He said it was $2400 stolen from a former employee and the person responsible was investigated. However, the rate increase is not in connection with the actions of the former employee. The council simply needs to adjust their base rates as inflation increases, according to Mayor Meche.
A full report of the missing funds as well as a detailed rate breakdown are provided below. If you have questions about the rates, you are encouraged to contact the mayor.