Tampa City Council considers bumping Hillsborough residents from getting water

05/24/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

 

Today the Tampa City Council voted to consider in 6 months whether to have a comprehensive feasability study on cutting off providing water to Hillsborough County residents.  Legally, any such move could not happen for 12 more years. 

 

The issue was brought to the Council last year by Councilman John Dingfelder, who says that under the current contract with the County, tampa taxpayers now and in the future, are being shortchanged (roll tape#1 o.q.”for the city residents”)

 

Saying it’s the City’s water, the city’s river, the city’s damn.  Dingfelder said it was worthy to look at the long term possibilities to the city, as the population continues over  next 2 decades.  And after being briefed by the City’s legal Department that an interlocal agreement that mandates that Tampa provide water for Hillsborough Citizens until the year 2019,  Dingfelder said it was worth looking at ending that relationship at that time

(roll tape#2 o.q.”on water bills”)

The City of Tampa Water department serves around 350,000 customers but almost doubles that when including Hillsborough residents.  Because of the drought like conditions, the city is currently purchasing water from Tampa Bay Water, which will likely become a financial hit to city taxpayers later this year.


Councilman Charlie Miranda said he thought that there had been similar studies done over the years by the various agencies responsible for water in the Tampa Bay Area
(roll tape#3 o.q.”that you make money”)

 

Steve Dagnault is the City of Tampa’s Administrator of Public Works and Utlities.  He acknowledged when pressed by Dingfelder that the City has never done the type of study he was asking for, but said the Iorio administration wasn’t really interested in going down such a path. (roll tape#4 o.q.”we are regional partners”)

 

Dagnault also said that there are agreements in place that Dingfelders’ proposal could upset (roll tape#5 o.q.”and who we serve”)

 

Councilmember Mary Mulhern backed up Dingfelder in saying that she was elected by residents inside Tampa, and she was intrigued by the possibility that the City could help itself by charger higher water rates to Hillsborough County residents.

 

But City Councilman Tom Scott, who just left the Hillsborough County Commission after a decade of service, tried to cut off any discussion where the City would penalize the County (roll tape#6 o.q.”at the end of the day”

 Dingfelder said he didn’t want to have a war with the County, but said he understood that the City’s Administration is busy right now..So he suggested that the issue be brought back before the City Council in 6 months time.  That motion passed 5-2.

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