Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two bills signed into law benefit Pasco

Two bills signed last Friday by Gov. Rick Scott directly impact Pasco County: One lowers homeowner assessments in Trinity while the other establishes water quality standards for private utility companies.

Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, said he sponsored the Water Consumer Protection Act after reading news accounts about Summertree residents' fight with their water provider, Utilities Inc. of Florida.

For years, residents of the sprawling community south of State Road 52 in west Pasco complained about the yellowish color, smell and bad taste of their water. Despite that, state regulators the Public Service Commission awarded Utilities Inc. a 20 percent rate increase in November, triggering protests from the residents.

The law signed last Friday does three main things: establishes standards for taste, color and odor, allows the commission to consider those standards along with existing safety levels when judging rate cases, and gives consumers a mechanism to appeal to the commission to review their water quality.

"What the bill did is a sweeping change in how we expect our private utilities to provide water and sewer service to the people of Florida," Simpson said. "It changes the matrix to allow the consumer to petition the PSC to review water quality and allows, if necessary, (the utility's) certificate to be revoked by the commission. It's the single biggest pro-consumer legislation in years."

The other law approved late last week gives Heritage Lakes residents a break on an annual homeowner assessment.

The assessment was connected to a decision by Pasco commissioners in April to purchase 41.5 acres from a Clearwater developer who had planned an apartment complex called the Oaks at Riverside.

The decision, backed by residents who live near the project, stopped the apartments from moving forward and provided the county a place for an eventual flood-control system.

In return for the land purchase, which cost the county $3 million, 1,600 residents from Heritage Lakes, Riverside Chase and Riverside would have been forced to pay a $135 assessment for 15 years.

The bill, pushed by Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, and Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey, cut that assessment in half.

Corcoran said he intends to seek another $1.5 million next year to eliminate the assessment altogether.

Rich Shopes can be reached at rshopes@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6236.

Two bills signed into law benefit Pasco 06/18/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Before Janessa Shannon's death, parents traded accusations of abuse

    Crime

    TAMPA — Long before Janessa Shannon's remains were discovered in a Hillsborough County nature preserve, her parents tried to convince court officials that she was in danger.

    From her own family.

    Janessa Shannon, 13, was found dead July 12 in the Triple Creek Nature Preserve in Hillsborough County. [National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]
  2. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams

    Bucs

    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  3. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017

    Blogs

    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  4. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.