Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County poised to raise water, sewer rates

Pinellas County is poised to become the latest government to raise water and sewer rates even as consumption falls.

The County Commission will have a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to consider rate increases for water and sewer customers.

If passed, the typical household, which now pays $64 a month, would see water and sewer charges increase $1.50 a month starting Oct. 1. It amounts to a 3.5 percent increase for water and 1.5 percent for sewer service.

If a household is one of 27,000 Pinellas customers with reclaimed water, the monthly cost would increase another $5.

The timing of increases during a recession has irked some residents — particularly when the county's water use has dropped by a third since 2006 as conservation increased.

"You ask us to conserve water, and now that we have, you want to penalize us," resident Kathryn Speigel wrote in an online complaint to the county.

But utility officials shift the blame to rising charges by Tampa Bay Water, the regional water authority, and costs to keep the system running. Reclaimed water, for example, costs more than the fees from customers generate.

"There are still costs that have to be covered to maintain the utility," said Kevin Becotte, interim director of Pinellas County Utilities. "Their bill may actually be going down if they're using less water, even if the unit price is going up."

The St. Petersburg City Council approved a water rate increase of 7.5 percent, despite protests from some residents that in these economic times, the hike was too steep.

Only Wengay Newton voted against the rate increase. The increase goes into effect for the city's October water bill.

The average customer who uses 5,600 gallons will see his bill increase by $4.15 a month, from $55.66 to $59.81. That's the biggest annual increase since 2003.

It was necessitated because Tampa Bay Water, which is where the city gets its water, raised fees to the city by more than 16 percent, said Mike Connors, administrator of the city's public works.

Times staff writer Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report. David DeCamp can be reached at or (727) 893-8779.

Fast facts

If you go

Pinellas County will hold a public hearing to take comments about the planned sewer and water rate increases. County Utilities provides water to unincorporated areas of the county, Largo, Seminole, Kenneth City and beach cities. The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on the fifth floor of the Pinellas County Courthouse at 315 Court St. in Clearwater.

Pinellas County poised to raise water, sewer rates 09/25/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 25, 2010 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. From the food editor: Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders


    I decided my almond chicken obsession was becoming a bit much.

    Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  2. Forecast: Soggy, yet hot, workweek ahead across Tampa Bay


    A soggy workweek is ahead across Tampa Bay as decent chances for scattered storms remain consistent over the next several days.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  3. Travel ban, Kennedy retirement speculation the focus as Supreme Court prepares for break


    WASHINGTON — Before taking their long summer break, the Supreme Court justices are poised to act on the Trump administration's travel ban and a separation of church and state dispute involving a Missouri church playground.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, shown in 2007, has given no public sign that he would step down this year and give President Donald Trump his second high court pick in the first months of his administration. Kennedy's departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court. [Associated Press]
  4. Florida education news: Guns, charter schools, drug education and more


    HOSTILE WORK PLACE: A legal review determines that while a University of South Florida technology center former director might have been boorish and hostile, …

  5. Fire crews battle blaze at apartment complex near Seminole Heights


    Fire crews are battling a blaze that broke out early Monday morning at an apartment complex near Seminole Heights, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.