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City, park closer to sewer deal

The City Council and Senate Manor mobile home park took the first steptoward a sewer agreement Tuesday.

Council members voted 3-2 to approve a deal for the park to pay impact fees, contingent on the city resolving whether the county also will charge the park impact fees.

Opposing the deal were City Council member Harold Loser and Mayor Keith Kollenbaum, who guaranteed that it would force the city to raise sewer rates for all residents. He did not say how much sewer rates would increase. Approving the proposal were council members Ken Altman, C. E. "Buck" Hempfling and Michael Cox, who struck the deal with Senate Manor last month.

Under Cox's plan, Senate Manor would pay $341,000 in impact fees to Port Richey over 10 years to have the park's troubled sewer system hooked up to the city's system. But park officials balked when they were told Friday that the county is studying increasing its own sewer impact fees, and that Port Richey officials wanted Senate Manor to pay for any increase.

Cox and Kollenbaum talked with County Administrator John Gallagher this week, but were told the county has not decided on an impact fee increase. Sal Cutroneo, chairman of Senate Manor's sewer committee, said park officials hope the park could be hooked up to the city system before any increase would go into effect. Kollenbaum said it would take about six months to hook the park up to the city system.

A proposed deal between the City Council and park was shot down by the council in November when park officials said they would not pay sewer impact fees to the city. Kollenbaum was in favor of allowing the park to avoid impact fees if it voided a water contract with the city that allows the park to buy water from the city at $3.60 per 1,000 gallons compared with $10 per 1,000 gallons for other users. The city has been eager to make the deal because along with added customers from the park, the city would get the park's profitable sewer service district.

After the council rejected the deal, City Council member Michael Cox met with Senate Manor officials, who agreed to pay $341,000 in impact fees over the next 10 years if they could keep their water contract in place until it expires in eight years. The council tentatively agreed to the terms.

Kollenbaum then offered park officials a second option: to void their water contract and allow the difference in the water payments to be applied toward reimbursing the city for impact fees over the next 10 years. Senate Manor officials said they would agree to either proposal, but said they would not pay a large county impact fee on top of the impact fee they would have to pay to Port Richey.