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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

CHALMETTE, La. -- Residents in Saint Bernard Parish could soon see their water bills go up.

Next week, parish officials will look at a proposal to add an extra fee to help balance the budget. Residents could see an extra $25 to $50 dollars added to their monthly water bills.

Parish officials say sales tax revenue is down and the extra money will help pay the bills.

'It's a beautiful park and it's one of those things they fixed up after the storm,' said Marcus Chalona.

The Chalmette man and his grandsons love to play at Sydney Torres Memorial Park, where Eyewitness News caught up with him.

St. Bernard Parish officials say adding an extra fee to resident's water bills will help pay for parks like that one.

'I can see what's been happening in the parish and it's pretty understandable that they're going to have to find a source of revenue somewhere,' said Chalona.

'I believe the sales tax is approximately $6 million in reduction of sales tax revenues collected this year based on budget that was presented,' said St. Bernard Parish Councilman Guy McInnis, who points to less B.P. oil spill workers and levee construction crews in the area compared to a year or two ago.

McInnis said that has negatively impacted sales tax revenues.

McInnis also said Saint Bernard Parish budgeted for $20 million in sales tax revenue; instead, $15 or $16 million is expected to be collected.

'Sooner or later something has got to give and we're not going to, this council and this administration, isn't going to go into deficit spending,' said McInnis.

According to parish documents, the extra fee would go toward paying for services like the fire department, recreation, public works, mosquito control, road lighting and sanitation.

However, for some residents like Pete Lavaty, an extra fee on his water bill is just a bad idea.

'It makes me feel not good. Our mortgage is high, and we have enough utilities as it is,' said Lavaty.

The proposed water bill fee will be officially introduced next week during Tuesday's Parish Council Meeting at 11 a.m. It will also be discussed during Monday night's Executive Finance Committee at 4 p.m.

McInnis said it won't be officially voted on until later in the month and that public input is welcome.

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