DADE CITY — If the commission in Dade City approves a proposed increase in the city's water rates at tonight's meeting, residents' water bills on average will go up $5.46.
In addition, total impact fees for new construction will go up from $1,184 to $5,264. There will also be a 25 percent surcharge to Dade City water customers who live outside city limits.
According to a memorandum written by Jose Gil, the city engineer, the average resident will now pay $50.94 a month for water and wastewater service. In the same memo, this price was compared with $56.26 for the average amount in Pasco County and $75.75 for Polk County.
If approved, residential rates will go into effect on the April water bill, while the new impact fees will go into effect June 1. Companies and individuals with construction projects under way will be able to prepay their impact fees at the old rate of $1,184 until the new rates take effect.
William Poe, city manager of Dade City, said the city has been looking into raising rates for about three years. The rates are increasing because of improvements being planned for the city's water system.
"With those improvements, we've received $16 million in grants," Poe said. "We have to adjust the rates accordingly to be able to afford the rest."
City Attorney Karla Owens said the city reviewed data from three consultants who tested the current system using smoke tests, video cameras and other means to determine what repairs and upgrades should be made.
Owens and Poe stress the importance of the improvements to the water and wastewater systems, especially as Dade City grows.
"We would like you to be able to flush your toilets and use your faucet, hopefully at the same time," Owens said.