New St. Petersburg grants means lower utility rate increase for customers

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St. Pete cityscape
Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News (April, 2016).

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St Petersburg was awarded over 20 million dollars from the state towards infrastructure improvements, and this means lower-than-expected utility rates for St. Pete residents in the future.

The funding is from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. It’s going towards mitigating flooding and improving St. Pete’s utility service.

Claude Tankersley is the Public Works Administrator for the City of St. Petersburg.

“We’re basically getting a fifty fifty grant. So, fifty percent of the funding from the project will be coming from our utility rates, and fifty percent will be coming from these grants.”

And this means slower rate increases for St. Pete utility customers in the future.

“We anticipate it will allow us not to raise utility rates in fiscal years 25 and 26 as much as we would have if we had to fund it completely ourselves.”

Approximately 11.5 million dollars will be used to mitigate stormwater flooding in South St. Pete.

“This is a really important area, it’s been on our radar since at least 2017 as being one of our top priority stormwater areas”

The area is low-lying and susceptible to severe flooding and property damage.

$8.8 million dollars will be used to improve two wastewater treatment plans.

“These operation buildings that we have in place right now are decades old, probably built back in the 70s, 60s, and so we need to adjust these buildings to account for sea level rise and changes in our rainfall pattern.”

Tankersley predicts construction will start in fiscal year 25-26.

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