Water & Sewer Rates: 2005
May 2, 2005, 4:49 PM
Filed under: Taxes, Water-Sewer-Sanitation

May 2, 2005

Dollars and Sense

by Mel Pollak, former for Hollywood’s former Budget Advisory Committee

by Mel Pollak
Former Member of Hollywood’s Budget Advisory Committee

The South Florida Region and Broward County planners plus several consulting firms met at Hollywood City Hall on April 26 and released Hollywood’s population growth figures:

2005 – 146,000
2016 – 186,000
2025 – 230,000

Yes, an additional 40,000 residents in eleven years and that translates into 13,000 housing units assuming approximately 3 persons per household.

This article will not attempt to approach the myriad of problems associated with this growth but only talks about our water and sewer infrastructure and how it plans to cope.

Much of the water and sewer infrastructure may be 40+ years old. Most of the yearly reserves budgeted to update or replace aging infrastructure have been used instead for repairs. In addition, the Public Utilities Department reports inflationary problems:

1. Chlorine has increased from $300 to $600 a ton.

2. All chemical and parts deliveries now have a fuel surcharge.

3. FPL is increasing energy charges to our plants by 8.5% or $300,000.

4. We now pay $120,000 for security guards that we did not have before 9/11.

Unlike many other sectors in our city, numerous changes and improvements in water and sewer service are mandated by the federal and state governments. A few of the repairs, replacements, and upgrades required for growth and for finally making necessary changes that have been deferred for years due to budgetary restraints include the following, as presented by the Utilities Department:

1. Generator at water plant – $4 million.

2. Membrane filters – $1.3 million each (These last 5-8 years and ours are 10 or more years old).

3. Clarifier for sewer plant – $5 million.

4. Rebuilt Headworks – $16 million.

5. West Hollywood and the Beach require more water pressure. This means more water tanks and pumping stations.

6. Rehab effluent pump station.

7. Hollywood Beach golf course to be used as drainfield. Course must be raised to permit drainage into North Lake – $2.5 million.

8. 20,000 storm drains require cleaning.

9. And the largest – $35 million to supply and move underground utilities with the widening of State Road 7 within five years.

10. Parallel sewer line Taft Street (Interceptor) $6.5 million.

Our outstanding debt for utilities as of 2005 is $15 million. To complete the growth and rehab program will require a $120 million expenditure. The money will be borrowed from the State at less than 3%. How do Hollywood residents pay for these changes? Your water and sewer fees increase.

The City Commission has a final reading on the rate increases on May 4. Storm water fees are approved by resolution, water and sewer rate fees by ordinance. Citizens do not vote on this matter. [Editor’s note: Concerned residents may attend the 5/4 City Commission meeting and speak on this issue. Advertised time for public hearing on this matter: 4 PM]

Another point. 50% of Hollywood is on a septic system. Any changes to the sewer fees do not affect them. This means that most of the sewer charges due to population growth will be an extra burden on the 50% of Hollywood residents with sewer hookups. Sounds unfair. But the facts of life. Living in Hollywood will be more expensive and the tax burden expands.

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