Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County considers raising utilities rates in coming years

Bills may be going up for Pinellas County Utilities customers.

On Thursday, county leaders discussed proposed increases in water, sewer and reclaimed water rates over the next several years.

They directed the county staff to bring the matter back to them next month. That's when they'll decide whether to advertise a public hearing on the increases.

The proposals don't call for a hike in monthly water rates for the county's approximately 112,000 retail customers in fiscal year 2012. But if the proposals are approved, the base rate water customers pay will go up $1 in each of the following three years. Rates charged for the quantity of water used will not change.

Conservation of water and the economic downturn have contributed to the need to raise rates, said Kevin Becotte, the interim utilities director

"We're working towards seeing how we can come through this and still maintain our system with the integrity we need to for our customers," Becotte told commissioners.

Besides unincorporated residents, the county utilities department also serves customers in Seminole, Kenneth City, Largo and most beach communities south of Clearwater.

Increases are the result of a variety of factors, including Tampa Bay Water rate increases and decreases in water sales, he said. From 2007 to 2016, the county projects a 30 percent decrease in water sales, he said. Much of that is related to three of its wholesale customers, Tarpon Springs, Oldsmar and Clearwater, which are developing their own water supplies.

The county is also looking at borrowing about $23 million down the road for facility improvements and other upgrades, Becotte said.

Wholesale customers, which include a number of area cities, would see a 4 percent rate increase each year over the next four years, according to the proposals. Those cities could decide to pass the rate increase on to their customers.

The proposals also call for a 6 percent increase in sewer rates for retail customers each year for the next four years. The typical retail customer, who uses 5,000 gallons of potable water per month, would see an increase of $1.78 each month in sewer bills in the next fiscal year. That increase would begin Oct. 1 of this year.

Reclaimed water rates for the county's unmetered customers would go up $1 each year as well.

If county commissioners agree to advertise a hearing, the rate proposals would come back before the board on Sept. 27. If approved, the legislation would take effect Oct. 1.

County utilities

Retail customers, which include areas of unincorporated county, Seminole, Kenneth City, Largo and most beach communities south of Clearwater:

Water: 112,000

Sewer: 81,000

Reclaimed water: 12,500

Pinellas County considers raising utilities rates in coming years 06/09/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 11:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.