DADE CITY — For the first time in eight years, Dade City residents will be paying higher water and sewer rates.
The Dade City Commission had a final hearing this week and voted 4-1 to approve upticks in water and sewer rates over the next five years. Commissioner Nicole Deese Newlon voted against the increases.
Commissioners took up the issue after hiring a consultant nearly a year ago to look at the city's water and sewer rates. The study found that the biggest need for an increase was for sewer service, where significant upgrades have been necessary in recent years and have been completed without a rate increase.
As a result, commissioners approved a 2 percent water rate increase and 6.5 percent sewer rate increase each year over the next five years. It will amount to an average 35-cent-a-month increase on water bills and a $2.25-a-month increase for sewer service, for a combined $2.60-a-month for customers who have both water and sewer service.
The rate increases will be used to pay for $10 million in capital improvements to an aging infrastructure and to pay debt service, according to the study.
Dade City still has some of the lowest water and sewer rates, compared to other government entities locally and statewide, according to the study.
"Nobody likes to see increased rates," said Commissioner Jim Shive. "But I think these are reasonable rates."