Duson banks on new business not utility rate hike

The Mayor of Duson plans to deal with the need for a utility rate increase by not having one. A recent auditors report showed the town's utility department is losing money.

Mayor Johnny Thibodeaux says his residents can't afford a rate hike. “As far as I'm concerned the gold mine in Duson is not only its people but the interstate passes right here,” says Mayor Thibodeaux.

The mayor is confident that with new business; utility usage will increase and a rate hike won't be needed.  There are others who have no problem sharing their opinion.

“I think it's a great strategy if you can grow your tax base, that's the best way to do it,” says Youngsville Resident Paul Tahrondson. “They've going to create a lot of sewerage and that's what I think they ought to raise the rates on,” adds Rayne Resident Joseph Dupis.

Mayor Thibodeaux says along the interstate is a $7 million project in the making. The Love's Truck Stop he anticipates about 300,000 gallons of water usage. “It's the smallest community in Lafayette Parish, but it has no property or land,” explains the mayor.

Across the road is a soon to be RV Park and restaurant.  Thibodeaux says those business will use an estimated 100,000 gallons. “We got Progressive Waste Solutions company that has come in and also Love's Country Store & Truck Stop,” explains Thibodeaux.

The mayor explains that these operating losses have been going on for many years. He says before he took office the town was losing about $350,000 a year. Within his first year he says wasteful spending was cut and that debit brought down to $89,000.

“Instead of going up on the utility rates and affecting all those senior citizens; a large number are on fixed incomes. We're doing our best to try to bring in new revenue in a different area,” says the mayor.

The mayor says the truck stop should be up and running by the end of the year. He anticipates that the new businesses combined will bring about 300 jobs with revenue.

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