COUNTY EXTENDS WATERING BAN AND BLAMES TAMPABAY WATER FOR PROBLEM-Andrew Stelzer

06/30/04

Today the Hillsborough county commission extended the restrictions on watering lawns and gardens only once-per-week until August 4th, but not without their customary disagreement and debate. Although all of the commissioners agreed that the ban should go into effect immediately, Commissioner Storms said she wanted a letter to be sent by the commission to Tampa bay water, blaming the company for the shortage of water.

ACT-Storms “The bottom line is that we are in this situation today.

ACT-Storms “The deal with Tampa bay water is we give us money we give water..they have failed to keep up their end of the bargain

It was pointed out to the commission that technically, Tampa bay water is meeting contractual obligations, because they have not shut off the water supply, and anything less than that is a fulfillment of the contract. The cities water manager said Tampa bay water claims that the problem, which has caused a shortage, is a pipeline to the south central well field that was not built on time; and Tampa bay water blames the subcontractor, which went bankrupt. But commissioner Frank pointed out that the

ACT-frank “It’s a very poor excuse…are they capable?

Commissioner Castor said that the issue of blame was important, but the passage of the watering restrictions should not be contingent of mailing the letter of blame to Tampa bay water. Commissioner Platt said she was concerned about the legal ramifications of blaming Tampa bay water without legal proof. But commissioner Storms responded

ACT “When is someone gonna hold them accountable?….

And commissioner Frank agreed with Storms a major part of the problem is that the county had told Tampa bay water that they would need a certain amount of water, but Tampa bay water lowered the counties estimate, which is why they are now saying they are reaching the water level which was written on the approved permits and contracts. If Tampa bay water had accepted the counties estimates of how much water would be needed, the company would be contractually obligated to supply it.

ACT-Frank “…This is not a shortage of rain!!!�

Commissioner Platt wanted to extend the once-a-week watering limit beyond august 4th, but because the public was not notified that it may be extended, the commission could not vote to do that without notifying the public ahead of time of a public meeting. The commission ended up voting to extend the watering limits to August 4th; they also voted to send a letter to Tampa bay water, expressing extreme displeasure at the company for failing to meet the counties master plan, and holding them accountable for the situation. Commissioner Norman also added that he is sure that the incomplete pipeline will be finished before August 4th.

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