Gulfport residents and business owners could soon see a 12% increase in water, sewer and stormwater rates in their October bills.
Councilwoman Salmon asked why the proposal exceeded what the city currently needed to charge to stay legally in line with what the wholesaler, St. Petersburg, charged. As a reseller, Gulfport cannot charge less for water than the wholesaler charges its other customers. City Manager Jim O'Reilly explained that the increase was intended to avoid a future increase of 37%, as when the city's contract with St. Petersburg expires in 2017, St. Petersburg can add a 25% surcharge to the bill, which it has done in recent years with St. Pete Beach and Treasure Island.
Between 2005 and 2010 the city spent almost $2.6M replacing water mains, service lines, water meters and upgrading fire hydrants.
"The whole city needs to be redone," he told council, estimating the cost of repairing the entire sewer system at $25 million.
Councilwoman Salmon pointed out that she heard from residents who had reviewed old water bills and realized their bill hadn't increased significantly over the past few decades.
Garbage and recycling rates will not change.