Florida

With a $ 900 water rate, a couple in the safety harbor demands a change in rate

Safety Harbor, Florida — Safety Harbor residents are talking about what they think about exorbitant water tariffs.

The city is water-centric … from flowing fountains to the city piers of Tampa Bay to the healing spas that have captivated visitors to the famous Safety Harbor Spa and Resort for almost a century.

But lately, some residents are angry that city water charges are pushing up utility bills.

“When we received the $ 900 invoice, we were like’Oh my god!’.”

Adam Walzer

“This month’s bill was $ 372.42,” said retiree Michele Day. “We know we can’t afford these expensive invoices.”

Christine McFadden bought her house in May, but her family didn’t move in until July 1.

“The first bill was about $ 182, the second bill was over $ 320, and we didn’t live here,” McFadden said. “I didn’t even know what to think because I couldn’t understand why the bill was so high.”

“When we received the $ 900 invoice, we were like’Oh my god!’,” Said Audrey Kaplan.

She and her husband, John Kaplan, were charged in April for using nearly 27,000 gallons of water.

Kaplan’s home has a low-flow shower head, and an average 5-minute shower uses about 10 gallons of water. In other words, Kaplan’s estimated monthly water usage is 27,000 gallons per month, which is equivalent to taking 90 showers per day.

“I’m not standing there for 24 hours. I have two dishes, so I run the dishwasher every two or three days,” said Audrey Kaplan.

However, Kaplan admits that they operated an irrigation system.

“We watered the lawn,” said John Kaplan. “But not these numbers. It’s impossible.”

However, according to the city, customers often use far more water than they think they are.

The meter shows up to 1,500 gallons of water per day used for irrigation

Kaplan water usage.png

Adam Walzer

Kaplan has a new smart water meter that shows exactly when and how much water the city is using.

Records show that they used up to 1,500 gallons for watering when building lawns or landscaping in new construction homes.

At the safety harbor, customers who use large amounts of water will pay more per gallon. The city uses a tier system and Prices jump from $ 3.65 per 1,000 gallons of the first 5,000 gallons to about $ 30 per 1,000 gallons of usage over 20,000 gallons.

Mayor Joe Ayub The layered structure is said to be aimed at promoting conservation.

mayor_ayoub_720.png

Adam Walzer

“People who pay the most and are dissatisfied with their bills are in either Tier 3 or Tier 4, where the price per gallon of water is high,” Ayoub said.

He says the rate of increase is not intended to punish those who use large amounts of water.

“They aren’t penalized because they only pay a higher price for the incremental water you’re using,” Ayoub said.

City buys water from Pinellas County Utility At a rate of $ 4.21 per 1,000 gallons, the bottom-tier customers are subsidized for water charges.

The city also provides water pipes to homes, meter readers, and employees who maintain the system and collect bills and payments.

As a result, frequent customers are helping the city recover these costs.

“The city isn’t making any money on the water. So adjusting one layer, the high-end layer, has to push to the other layer, which raises the rate of people in the lower layers a bit. That is, the deck. It’s like shuffling, “says Ayoub.

Michele Day posted on her Next Door app about her high bill. She says she’s heard from dozens of other Safety Harbor Utility customers.

“When I read these every day, knowing that I’m not the only one dealing with this gives me a little inspiration,” Day said. “They all ask the same question … why is our water so expensive compared to everywhere around us?”

Higher levels of safety harbors are more expensive than nearby communities

John and Audrey Kaplan say their initial utility bill was over $ 900 when they moved to the new home.png.

Adam Walzer

John and Audrey Kaplan say their initial utility bill was over $ 900 when they moved to a new home

Based solely on water prices, Safety Harbor residential customers pay $ 270 for 20,000 gallons of water, while customers across from Clearwater pay $ 163.

The price of 30,000 gallons of water in the safety harbor jumps to $ 565.

The customer Shimizu Pay $ 291.99, St. Petersburg Customer pays $ 249.62, Hillsborough County Water customers pay $ 172.60 for the same amount.

Homeowners aren’t the only ones paying high prices.

The owner of Safety Harbor’s new downtown laundromat business spoke at a Safety Harbor City Council meeting last month after receiving a $ 2,500 utility bill.

“Because we are a new business owner, the last one scared you to know. It was so big that we reached a stage where we didn’t know it was possible,” said Joe Marciello, Commissioner. Told to.

Mayor Ayub says the city is working with businesses to come up with solutions.

Ayoub states that other communities operate their own aquatic plants and can offer lower rates because they can offer water cheaper.

According to him, 80% of customers fall into the bottom two layers of usage, and people who use large amounts of water for irrigation can buy another meter for $ 500 to save on sewerage charges.

“We have a rate survey scheduled for fiscal year 2022, so we’ll always look at everything, get all the feedback from our residents, and always look at ways to make our rates more fair,” said Ayoub. Said. “But after all, whatever we pay for water, we have to charge our customers.”

Customers say they want these higher price points to change.

“When you retire, every penny is important,” Day said.

“Now I’m jokingly peeing in the pool. It saves flushing and adds a small amount of water to the pool,” McFadden said.

If you are a Safety Harbor Utility customer who wants to know more about irrigation meters or have questions about your bill, please call (727) 724-1555.

If you have a story that I-Team might need to investigate, please email us at: adam@abcactionnews.com



With a $ 900 water rate, a couple in the safety harbor demands a change in rate

Source link With a $ 900 water rate, a couple in the safety harbor demands a change in rate

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