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Water, sewer rates to rise

By Lisa Neff, Islander Reporter

Manatee County water customers will see rates rise with the arrival of the new year.

The county board of commissioners, meeting Nov. 9 in Bradenton, raised the water and sewer rates effective Jan. 15, 2011.

“We can’t do business without raising rates,” said at-large Commissioner Joe McClash.

The increase impacts water and sewer customers throughout Manatee County, including Island customers.

The county last increased its rates for potable water, reclaimed water and wastewater in October 2008.

A staff memo to the county commission explained the reason for the increase.

The commission directed the county staff to accelerate capital improvements in 2009-10 to help boost the economy, with utility system reserves used to fund the projects.

The county now faces the need for additional improvements in 2011-12, in part to meet regulatory requirements. “Revenue projections for 2011 and 2012 are not sufficient to fund the CIP. As a result, borrowing is recommended… .A rate increase is necessary to fund the additional debt service and ensure adequate reserves for operational integrity,” the county memo stated.

So what will be the impact on consumers?

The bill payer in a single-family home that uses 6,000 gallons of water per month will see the rate rise from $55.42 to $60.26, a monthly increase of $4.84.

The monthly increase for a single-family home that uses 10,000 gallons of water will be $7.57 and the increase for 20,000 gallons will be $3.43, from $120.32 to $123.75.

For a condominium using 4,500 gallons of water per month, the rate will go from $38.05 to $40.99, an increase of $2.93.

For a commercial operator using 15,000 gallons of water per month, the rate will go from $131.34 to $143.69, an increase of $12.35.

In addition to upping the rates, the resolution approved by the commission reclassifies hotels and motels as “commercial” entities, which should lower monthly base charges for utilities.

The maximum charge for residential accounts also was lowered from 12,000 gallons per month to 10,000 gallons per month and the wastewater rate per 1,000 gallons was reduced.

The commission also voted to increase sanitation rates.

However, the Island cities do not use county sanitation services. Anna Maria and Holmes Beach contract with Waste Management for trash, yard waste and recyclables collection. Bradenton Beach operates its own yard waste and trash collection service, but contracts with Waste Pro for the pick up of recyclables.

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