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Dade City bans controversial fracking technique

DADE CITY — The Dade City Commission has banned the oil and natural gas mining technique known as fracking.

During a meeting Tuesday, commissioners approved an ordinance that bans hydraulic fracturing and drilling in the city, saying it would be a hazard to environmentally sensitive areas, including the water supply. The measure drew strong support from residents and environmental activists during several public meetings.

In other action, the commission approved two ordinances concerning fees and taxes that have not been addressed in years.

Commissioners approved new water fees that would fine customers who tamper with or obstruct meters. The new ordinance also establishes reconnection fees for customers who default on their accounts and have their water shut off.

Tampering with a meter would result in a $100 fine for the first offense. The fine would be $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense. The fine for blocking or obstructing a meter will be $50 for a first violation, increasing to $100 and $150 for subsequent violations. The ordinance also sets the reconnection fee for delinquent customers at $60.

A study conducted by the city found it is costing the city $66.75 for each reconnection, and before passage of the ordinance, the city was collecting nothing.

Commissioners also approved the first increase since 2002 in the fees businesses have to pay for an occupational license. The increase amounts to 5 percent.