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Stormwater rate hike coming to Hillsborough residents, businesses

Knee-deep water lasted in the Lutz neighborhood of Faircloth Estates days after a 2015 storm long after other neighborhoods dried up.

Times File Photo

Knee-deep water lasted in the Lutz neighborhood of Faircloth Estates days after a 2015 storm long after other neighborhoods dried up.

16

August

TAMPA -- Stormwater fees in Hillsborough County are going up for the second time in three years after remaining flat for more than two decades.

Single-family households will pay $36 this year, an increase of $6. Apartment complexes will now pay $18 per unit and non-residential parcels will pay $0.03 for every 1.5 square feet.

The new rates, approved 5-1, also give commissioners the option of raising the rate for residents to $42 next year.

Commissioners hope the hike can help the county address a significant backlog in the kind of culvert and watershed improvements that can alleviate flooding that habitually occurs after even modest rains.

“I’m exhausted in my office dealing with situations of storm water problems. My staff is exhausted,” Commissioner Sandy Murman said. “We are trying to answer the needs. This is a quality of life issue that’s really important to our residents.”

It’s necessary for Hillsborough to address stormwater infrastructure because of its “special problems” as a coastal county that sees heavy rainfall in summer months and is susceptible to sea level rise and tropical storms, Commissioner Pat Kemp said.

Administrator Mike Merrill, however, said that while this is a step forward but many larger stormwater projects remain unfunded in the capital plan.

Commissioner Victor Crist was the lone no vote.

In 2015, commissioners raised the fee from $12 a year to $30, the first rate increase since the stormwater fee was first assessed in 1991.

At the time, county staff recommended a hike to $36 dollars a year but commissioners split the difference, fearing a 200 percent increase was too aggressive for residents.

The new rates will generate about $19.7 million a year.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 1:12pm]

    

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