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Want to Sound Off on City Streetlight and Stormwater Fee Hikes?

City officials are meeting with locals to discuss the proposed fee increases.

Have strong feelings about the idea of paying stormwater fees that are nearly double what they are now if you own property within the New Port Richey city limits? How about the notion of also paying higher street light fees if you own property in the city?

You’ll soon have opportunity to express your thoughts publically to city officials before the issue is voted on by the city council.

Faced with, New Port Richey city officials are proposing nearly doubling stormwater fees and hiking street light fees in upcoming fiscal year 2013. So the city is having a couple meetings to discuss the hikes.

Why are these hikes being proposed?

The revenues of the city’s streetlighting and stormwater utilities have fallen short of meeting expenses over the past several years. An important reason to make the utilities break even is to reduce strains on the city’s general fund, which pays for police, fire rescue, parks and recreation, library and other services. The streetlight utility is part of the general fund.

Both residential and commercial properties are charged these fees.

The city’s debt-plagued redevelopment fund, which in the past subsidized the general fund, and will require infusions of general fund money to pay what it owes.

"Without these increases, the City’s General Fund...would be liable for $1.9 million in additional costs over the next five years that it simply cannot afford to bear," city finance director Doug Haag wrote in a press release. "Fee increases of any kind are never popular for anyone; however, in this situation it is essential to preserve the short and long term financial stability of the City of New Port Richey." 

The new rates approved this year would stay in effect through at least 2017, according to Haag.

The city assesses streetlight fees using Equivalent Residential Units, one of which equals 1,860 square feet of property. Currently, the city charges an annual fee of $26.07 for one ERU. The proposed hike raises the fee for one ERU of residential property to $36.14 in FY 2013, which starts Oct. 1, 2012.

The city also assesses stormwater fees using Equivalent Residential Units. In the case of stormwater fees, one ERU equals 2,629 square feet of impervious space.

Currently, the city charges an annual fee of $40.327 for one ERU. The proposed hike raises the fee for one ERU to $77.36 in FY 2013.

Your Chance to Sound Off

There will be two meetings about the fee hikes, according to a city press release. The first will be an informational meeting Thursday, July 12, at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 5919 Main Street, New Port Richey.

The next will be the final public hearing on the hikes Tuesday, July 17, at or shortly after 7 p.m.

Want to know more about how we got here?

Check out these articles on the city's streetlight and stormwater fee issues and how they've developed since the last attempt to raise streetlight fees.

*Story updated 10:32 a.m.

Steve Gonzales July 06, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Before people start chiming in about rate increases, I live in jasmine lakes in Port Richey and let me tell you we have Aqua source as our water co. They have to be the biggest crooks around!!! my water bill for the 3 of us living hear runs $80-90 a month, i've stopped watering my lawn and its gone to crap, because when i water my once a week our bill runs $115-125 and let me assure you i only watered at night and only if it needed it! we do not run our dishwasher, nor do we have a pool here. In the fall/winter time when its nice out and we're able to open our windows not use the a/c or need to run the heat, our water bill still runs roughly $80..which is $20-30 more than our elect bill during those cooler months. Every time Aqua source asks for a rate hike which as of late is 3 times i believe over the last 3 years, the crooked ass county com always approves it. No matter how many meetings they hold we always go and give our opinion to no avail. So before you start complaining about your rate increase in the city of N.P.R just be thankful you dont have AQUA!!!!
Alex Tiegen July 06, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Thanks for lending the perspective, Steve.
Michael M July 11, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Maybe we should be balancing the budget by actually developing the properties that the city owns?? No, you know what you're right city council we should leave those places vacant and just charge more for the same crappy stormwater system.
Rob Marlowe July 12, 2012 at 11:11 AM
If anyone wants one of the properties Michael mentioned, they should bring their checkbook with them and be prepared to make an offer. I can assure you that the council will consider any reasonable offer. We've got a beautiful parcel right on Orange Lake that would be perfect for a mixed use development with upscale townhomes upstairs and professional offices downstairs. The city has about 3.1 million invested in the property and we would love to hear from anyone interested in purchasing the property and building that sort of project. The city has another parcel on River Road that would be perfect for a small townhouse development. If you've got the resources to build it, the city wants to talk to you. Still too big a project? We've got a pair of lots just north of Fire Station 2. If you'd like to build yourself a nice home with really fast emergency response times, these lots are for you. Call Lisa Fierce in the development office and let her know you are interested. Developers with money have been in rather short supply and the banks haven't exactly been going out of their way to loan money for condo projects and other big developments since the 2008 economic implosion. That is starting to change and the city wants to talk to folks with access to cash and a willingness to build something nice and put these parcels back on the tax rolls.
Frank Vitagliano July 12, 2012 at 12:10 PM
I'm tired of paying more and more for fee's. If the county did the proper job on our roads and sewers, then maybe it would be justified. Everytime it rains the water comes up almost to my gaurage door. That never use to happan until they repaved the streets here in Port Richey. Now the streets and some of our homes are a flooded. As of now they had better get their act together before they want to raise fee's. I also agree with Steve Gonzales about Aqura source. I have a friend that lives there and it's a mess, but they keep chargeing more and more for the mess that they, and the county who let Aqura service create.
wally Donovan July 12, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Well when they did the streets over they did not remove any of the old asphalt, and that`s why the water goes over the side walk. i live on a corner and the street is even with the sidewalk and now it floods. this is what happen when you don`t do the job right . good old port richey 25 years here and all we do is go backwoods
wally Donovan July 12, 2012 at 11:10 PM
can some one tell me how do you run water to a drain if you don`t have a gutter anymore.you see they send us a bill for 700.00dollars for resurfacing the street and now the street is even with the side walk so that`s why we have water all over the place. before you had a gutter the water could run to the drain.NICE WORK PORT RICHEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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