Dixie Inn looks at raising sewer rates to help with grant funding

By Bonnie Culverhouse

If the Village of Dixie Inn wants grant money for future projects, they will have to come up with some of their own money. That could mean a rather tough decision on the part of local government.

“We’ve applied for a grant for $260,000,” Dixie Inn Alderwoman Donna Hoffoss said. “What we need is a new tank for our sewer system, which is located at the treatment plant.”

Hoffoss said it is money from the federal government that will be doled out through the state. In order to get the grant money, they will have to raise sewer rates.

“The Louisiana Rural Water Association has to do a study on our sewer rates,” Hoffoss said. “They are not going to be able to do that for a while because they have several projects coming up. It might be September before we know anything.”

Hoffoss said water and sewer rates in Dixie Inn were raised in 2019 from $9.50 base to $30 base on 2,000 gallons. She said there are just over 200 meters in the village limits.

Hoffoss also said the LRWA representative wants the village to make a profit of around $1,000 per month.
“Right now, at the end of the year, we will have about $9,000 in reserve,” she said. “That’s at our rates right now.”
The village’s fiscal year runs from July to June, so they are already in the new fiscal year.

Dixie Inn is scheduled to receive $50,000 this year and next year from the American Recovery Act.

“That can be used on roads, water and sewer,” she said. “You can’t just get it and spend it.”
A portion of that money could be used for the new tank, however, grant funding stipulations have changed over the years.

“In the past, they would give you all the grant money you needed to do your project,” Hoffoss said. “Now, the town has to come up with a certain percentage of that money.”

Case in point, one of Dixie Inn’s projects is $256,000.

“We’ve got to come up with $99,000,” she said. “Which we will take out of our general fund.”

Hoffoss said the recent Minden vote to sell alcohol has affected their sales tax revenue stream. In August, they will lose one of the liquor stores that has been one of the larger sales tax contributors.

“It’s (sales tax) down between 10 and 12 percent right now,” she said.

Hoffoss, along with Mayor Kay Hallmark Stratton and her two fellow aldermen Lance Milligan and Judy McKenzie, have been in office since 2016.