Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Zephyrhills residents likely to see water bills go up

ZEPHYRHILLS — City water and sewer customers will likely see a rate increase at some point in 2012, but City Council members won't decide until after the first of the year.

After complaints of high water rates from a mobile home park community earlier this year, the city commissioned a rate study. The findings were presented to the City Council during its regular meeting Monday night.

The study found that Zephyrhills has the lowest rates in all of Pasco County, as well as the cities of Lakeland and Tampa, and Hillsborough and Polk counties. Even if it increased its rates, Zephyrhills could remain among the cheapest, according to Burton & Associates, which conducted the survey. The company recommends the city increase its single-family rates by 10 percent a year for the next three years, followed by 5 percent annual increases the years after that.

This would mean an average home that uses 4,000 gallons of water per month would see their bill increase about $3 per month in the first year. Those who use more water would see a greater rate increase, which officials hope would create an incentive to conserve water. A home that uses 12,000 gallons a month would see a $20 spike in its bill.

Master-metered residential customers, such as in Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park, would actually see a drop in water rates under the proposed new billing system. A park that uses 500,000 gallons monthly would save about $251.

Without the rate adjustments, the city would not be able to fund any significant improvements to the city, which could lead to service failure, said Andy Burnham, senior vice president of Burton & Associates. Currently, the city has about $43.5 million in capital improvement projects needed for the water and sewer systems. The city has about 300 miles of pipe which have a lifespan of about 50 years, so in any given year an average of six miles must be replaced or repaired at a cost of $2 million just to keep things running smoothly, Burnham said.

The city's last rate study was done in 2006, according to city utilities director David Henderson, and city water customers have seen only 5 percent increases in recent years.

"We probably average three to five leaks a day," Henderson said of the city's pipes.

City council members won't decide what kind of a rate increase is necessary until after the first of the year, but acknowledge there's a need for one just to keep up with maintenance costs.

"The bottom line is we're not charging enough," said Council Vice President Kent Compton.

Zephyrhills residents likely to see water bills go up 11/29/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 6:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  2. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  3. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  4. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs-Bills journal: Breakout game for Bucs tight end O.J. Howard

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's obscured by the final score and a disappointing loss, but Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout game Sunday, exceeding his season totals for catches and touchdowns in one afternoon.

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) celebrates a touchdown catch with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]