The Palm Coast City Council is holding a special meeting Tuesday morning, when it is expected to sign off on the deal. The nearly $600,000 in annual savings will not, however, lower utility rates.
palm coast utilities
The new plant would be financed with a 20-year loan at less than 1 percent interest, and the city’s total debt load would rise to around $200 million. It also depends on steady growth in coming years.
A seemingly outlandish comparison between the two cities turns out to be much less so–and much more instructive–when comparing the similarities of the two cities’ utility challenges, and the limited ways they can go about addressing them without, in the end, making the rate-payer pay.
Palm Coast residents will see their water bills jump 8 percent in April, 4 percent in October and another 4 percent in October 2014 as the city grapples with a combination of debt and capital obligations for its utility.
Rather than impose a 22 percent water-rate increase over the next three years, the Palm Coast City Council might scale that back to 16 percent, but only by shifting increases to later years. The council is scheduled to approve a plan on Feb. 19 as public opposition builds.
The Palm Coast City Council Tuesday evening weathered a verbal barrage of questions and criticism from 15 people upset at the city’s plan to finance $78 million in water and sewer charges over the next five years, in part by raising water rates 22 percent in the next three years. But little change is expected.
To avert a crisis with its creditors, Palm Coast will raise water and sewer rates 22 percent over the next three years, beginning with an 8 percent increase this March. Residents’ rates are increasing to ensure that the city’s debts can be paid.
Overeager to get going on a $2.6 million wellfield project during the boom years, Palm Coast never secured an agreement between a land company and FPL to power the wells. When talks broke down between the companies, Palm Coast decided to pay an extra $500,000 to power the wells with a different contractor, a cost it will pass down to rate-payers, even though the need for the water is non-existent.
The 500,00-gallon water tank along I-95 was broken into on May 17 by unknown vandals. It was isolated from the rest of the system. It’ll remain isolated pending a week’s worth of maintenance.
Some residents may see smoke rising from yards, streets or drains, signaling faulty sewer lines or plumbing. Residents may experience caughing, but the city says the smoke is not hazardous to health and dissipates within 15 minutes.