Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The cost of a flush just went up in St. Pete Beach

ST. PETE BEACH — It's official. Your next sewer bill will be 30 percent higher.

The increase, approved unanimously by the City Commission last week, is just the first installment in what promises to be a multiyear program of further rate increases and borrowing to refurbish the finances and infrastructure of the city's 50-year-old sewer system.

"Treatment costs have continued to escalate, however, our rates have not increased," said Commissioner Christopher Leonard, stressing that this year's rate increase is aimed at covering growing treatment costs and beginning to pay back the city's general fund.

In the past few years, the city was forced to borrow $1.2-million from its general fund to support the utility's operations. Last year alone, treatment costs were $430,000 more than what the city budgeted.

"This increase does not fund any of the major capital improvement projects," said city public services director Steve Hallock. But the increased revenue, he said, will help the city get a better interest rate when it borrows money to improve the system.

The city needs to spend more than $8-million to repair the sewer system, including $1.5-million to replace the major pipeline that runs under Boca Ciega Bay to the treatment plant. If that line is cut, sewage would spill into the bay. In addition, manholes, force mains, and pumping and lift stations throughout the city need to be replaced or repaired.

The rate increase officially went into effect Jan. 1 and will be followed by a 7.5 percent rate increase in January 2010 and another in January 2011. Sewer or wastewater treatment rates are based on the amount of water used by residential and commercial customers.

For residents and businesses using about 4,000 gallons of water, the fee increase means the bimonthly sewer portion of utility bills will jump from $44.80 to $58.46. This represents more than an $80 annual increase for typical residential users.

The residential base rate increased from $16.80 to $21.98 for the first 3,000 gallons and from $5.60 to $7.25 for each additional 1,000 gallons of water used.

The new rates come after a 12.5 percent sewer fee increase that went into effect last year — the first rate increase in about eight years.

The cost of a flush just went up in St. Pete Beach 01/20/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 6:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Nearly 40 hospitalized on first day Sunset Music Festival, on pace to exceed last year


    To reduce the number of medical emergencies this year, sponsors of the Sunset Music Festival promised heightened security and safety measures during this weekend's event at Raymond James Stadium.

    Thousands of people crowd the main stage at the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. Temperature at the time of this photo was 92F [Saturday, May 28, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  2. Woman killed in overnight Temple Terrace apartment fire, city says


    TEMPLE TERRACE — A woman died early Sunday as a result of a fire at an apartment complex, city officials said.

  3. Video: Indianapolis 500 drivers in fiery crash somehow walk away uninjured

    Auto racing

    Scott Dixon and Jay Howard avoided injury in a spectacular crash - or what Dixon labeled "a wild ride" afterward - during the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

  4. Homeland security chief defends Kushner's alleged proposal for 'back channel' to the Russians as 'a good thing"


    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the lone administration official to speak out publicly about reports that Jared Kushner sought a back channel to communicate with the Russian government, defended the move, saying it was a "good thing" for the U.S. government.

    Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, listens during a meeting with small business leaders at the White House on Jan. 30. [Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford]
  5. After hard charging on health care in 2016, Marco Rubio is slow, careful


    As a presidential candidate, Marco Rubio pitched an Obamacare replacement and tore into Donald Trump for not having one. "What is your plan? What is your plan on health care? You don't have a plan," the Florida senator aggressively challenged in a February 2016 debate.