City council approves new water rates

By Nick Blank
Posted 11/14/18

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – In two separate 5-0 votes, City Council approved increases to water and wastewater rates Tuesday night, citing the need to cover infrastructure costs.

Water rates are set to …

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City council approves new water rates

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – In two separate 5-0 votes, City Council approved increases to water and wastewater rates Tuesday night, citing the need to cover infrastructure costs.

Water rates are set to rise 3 percent and wastewater rates would see a 17 percent increase. A residential homeowner using less than 3,000 gallons a month would likely see their bill jump by about 30 cents, according to Assistant City Manager and Public Works Director Mike Null.

“It’s primarily the increased cost of doing business, the majority being used for operations,” Null said. “The funds are definitely needed.”

For example, the residential potable water charge would rise by two cents per 1,000 gallons for under 3,000 gallons used and increase by six cents per 1,000 gallons for 3,001-10,000 gallons consumed.

The city currently charges a base rate depending on meter size and two charges per 1,000 gallons for potable and irrigation use for less than 10,000 gallons, 10,001-15,000 gallons, 15,001-20,000 gallons and more than 20,001 gallons, at different rates for commercial and residential users.

Null said the city’s engineer told officials three years ago there needed to be about $30 million in improvements to the city’s wastewater infrastructure and potential 90 percent increase in rates.

“What we tried to do is spread these increases out over the years. We spread out the project to get more grant funds, which allows us to minimize rate increases,” Null said. “Just like the water [rates], for the homeowners that use 3,000 gallons of sewer per month, the average bill will go up $4.06 per month.”

The rate increases passed on first reading in October. Council member Mitch Timberlake said it was the city’s responsibility to look 25 to 50 years in the future to make sure the projects come to fruition.

With some of the city’s wastewater services near capacity, he said it was normal for funding to be provided by people who use city services.

“In reality, we act as board of directors for the utility of Green Cove Springs...this is not something we take lightly,” Timberlake said. “Like Mike [Null] said, we’ve been meeting about this since 2015.”

Council member Van Royal said rates would affect commercial users greater than residential users. He said there was an added focus on conservation.

“After 3,000 gallons, in both residential and commercial, it’s fairly significant,” Royal said. “What it does is encourage everybody to use as little as possible because it’s a limited resource.”

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