Tuesday, November 20, 2018
News Roundup

Dade City planning $240,000 in water utility improvements

DADE CITY — Dade City commissioners put the finishing touches Tuesday on a state loan application for $240,000 to improve water service and build new wells. Customers will not see rate increases for these improvements.

Officials said the projects will provide greater storage and pumping, along with better water pressure for problematic areas around the city.

The city water system provides about 1.8 million gallons of water a day from a total of eight wells, city engineer Gordon Onderdonk said. His list of projects, crafted with the help of consultant Baskerville-Donovan Inc., include:

• Replacing the College Hill well site with an expanded Orange Valley facility.

• Installing a booster pump and ground storage tank at Tank Hill.

• Drilling future wells.

• Making repairs to the three wells on 10th Street, which produce half of the city water supply.

"We're at the stage of preconstruction services," said City Manager Billy Poe. "We're creating a master plan."

After presenting a task order on Aug. 28, Onderdonk and Baskerville-Donovan engineering will have a master plan due in April for consideration by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Onderdonk described the city distribution system as "past its service life."

"The Tank Hill facility is over 50 years old," he said.

Commissioner Jim Shive, a former city utilities worker, was impressed by the proposal.

"I read through your projections," he said to Onderdonk. "And you hit the nail on the head as to priorities. You did a great job."

In other news, commissioners yanked their previous request for Poe to draft a spending plan to demonstrate the severe cuts that would be needed to drop the tax rate to $6 per $1,000 in taxable property. Instead, they will proceed with a proposed budget that keeps the tax rate at $7.10 per $1,000 in taxable property.

Mayor Camille Hernandez, who is vacationing in Singapore, presided over the meeting via Skype, her head appearing much larger than life on a giant TV screen. Mayor Pro Tem Eunice Penix asked to withdraw her July vote seeking a spending plan with significant cuts, an exercise her fellow commissioners agreed was unnecessary.

But Hernandez, at times disconnected from the discussion in the room, said that what she was hearing was a consensus among commissioners to pursue further cuts.

As a result, the Sept. 4 budget workshop will go forward.

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