Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

Water bills rise in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — Customers who get their water from this city will see larger bills based on new rates that kicked in Oct. 1.

A little more than half of the city's residential customers, those who use up to 3,000 gallons of water, will notice a 5.8 percent increase in their bill. That amounts to $3.33 more per month, going from $57.06 to $60.39. The figure includes water, sewer, stormwater and reclaimed water charges as well as utility taxes. That does not include the cost of garbage pickup.

Residential customers who use more water — between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons per month — would see their bills increase by about 4.8 percent, or $4.22, from $87.71 to $91.93.

Residential consumers who use between 5,000 and 6,000 would see their bills climb by about 4.5 percent, or $4.67 from $103.03 to $107.70 per month.

This is the fifth consecutive year water and sewer rates have gone up. Most of the increase is traced to a hike in charges from Pinellas County, which is a wholesale supplier of water to Pinellas Park. City officials say the increase in those rates is a "pass through" and that Pinellas Park has added nothing on top of the rate hike.

Consumers can expect to see water and sewer rates keep going up for at least the next two years or so. Pinellas County commissioners voted in 2011 to increase rates for four years.

County officials said then the increases were necessary to improve and maintain the system. The hikes also will offset any increases from Tampa Bay Water, which supplies the county. The increases were also designed to offset the loss of business from Tarpon Springs and Oldsmar — two cities that are building their own water supply systems.

Pinellas Park has, at times in the past, absorbed cost increases rather than passing them on to consumers. But city officials says they can no longer afford to do that.

A rise in stormwater fees reflects increases the city expects in maintaining the system.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.

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