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St. Petersburg moves forward with new stormwater rates

Stormwater rates will now be divided into four tiers. The new rates have been delayed until Oct. 1, 2019 to give the city more time to explain them to residents.
An exterior view of St. Petersburg City Hall at 175 Fifth St N. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
An exterior view of St. Petersburg City Hall at 175 Fifth St N. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Oct. 29, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — City officials are refining the details of new stormwater rates that will divide households into four different tiers.

The change assigns a rate based on the square footage of the property that is impervious to water, such as rooftops and asphalt. This will replace the current flat-rate where each property owner pays the same fee of $11.

City staff expected to put the new rates in place on April 1, 2019. However, council members decided last week at a budget committee meeting to bump the fee change back to Oct. 1, 2019 to give city staff more time to explain the changes to residents.

Previous coverage: Bad news St. Pete: Utility rates, stormwater fees could rise 

Council members got a first glimpse of those tiers and rates during that committee meeting. Staff warned that these are preliminary numbers which will likely change slightly between now and October 2019.

About two-thirds of property owners will pay the same or less than their current $11 rate, staff said. The remaining third will see an increase of either close to $5 or $13 a month.

Note: The average single-family home in St. Petersburg has 2,338 square feet of impervious surfaces, like driveways, on the property, Andrew Burnham, a consultant with Stantec, told council members.

Tier 1

Square feet of impervious surfaces: 1,600 square feet or less
Number of homes: 11,650 parcels or 16 percent
New fee: $4.93
Change from current fee: Decrease of $6.07

Tier 2

Square feet: 1,600 to 3,200
Number of homes: 35,750 parcels or 49 percent
New fee: $10.02
Change from current fee: Decrease of $0.98

Tier 3

Square feet: 3,200 to 4,800
Number of homes: 17,788 or 24 percent
New fee: $15.88
Change from current fee: Increase of $4.88

Tier 4

Square feet: 4,800 and greater
Number of homes: 8,410 or 11 percent
New fee: $23.92
Change from current fee: Increase of $12.92

Public works spokesman Bill Logan said the tiered-rate is designed to be more equitable. Those who have more square-footage on their property that water can't soak through will pay more. Those property owners with fewer impervious surfaces will pay less.

Previous coverage: Utility bills will rise for St. Pete residents — and keep rising

For example, the average square footage of impervious surfaces for a property in tier one is 1,200. At tier No. 4, that average jumps to 5,700. As a result, property owners in the lowest tier would pay about one-fifth the fee of those in the highest tier.

Customers will soon be able to log on to an online portal so residents can see their new tier, inspect their property and file any complaints. Staff expects that website to be live to the public in February.

Contact Caitlin Johnston at cjohnston@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8779. Follow @cljohnst.

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