TARPON SPRINGS — An issue that began with a lengthy, somewhat contentious, discussion between several residents and city officials back in May concluded recently, quickly and quietly.
The City Commission unanimously approved a revised 10-year water and sewer rate plan.
The plan, rewritten after an outpouring of public comments about what some residents considered too-high rates, features a rate reduction from 6.75 to 5 percent in the next fiscal year, the final year of the current deal, and increases of 2.9 percent from 2020-2028, which would put Tarpon Springs among the five municipalities with the lowest rates in the county by the end of the deal.
During the first reading of the revised plan, Public Service Department Director Paul Smith said staff "went back to the drawing board" to come up with a proposal that would satisfy residents without greatly affecting the needs of the city.
Smith explained the lower rate is the result of reducing the Capital Projects budget by about $3.5 million over the 10-year life of the new rate plan. The effect would be negligible on future projects, he said, noting the annual allocation for things like lines and valves would drop from $1.3 million to $1.15 million.
"It’s still a healthy investment," he said.