Largo Reclaimed Water Customers to get Rebate

LARGO — The City Commission approved a $33,500 reclaimed water service credit to cover the outage of service late last year.

By a 7-0 vote, the commission okayed Feb. 4 the credit for an extended system outage between Nov. 29 and Dec. 10 last year that represented approximately 60% of the city’s monthly billing cycle.

The system was shut down 19 days because of a sudden increase in fecal coliform bacteria, city officials said.

Sample results fell below the maximum daily threshold for bacteria on Dec. 10 and the Department of Environmental Protection agreed the system could go back online.

According to the city’s customer service agreement, reclaimed water service is not guaranteed because of uncontrollable events, including road construction, system repairs, lack of sufficient water supply based on actual wastewater usage and weather.

However, Largo Finance Manager Kim Adams said the length of the reclaimed water shutdown warranted issuing the reclaimed water service credit.

“The city’s reclaimed water system is susceptible to periodic outages for routine road work or system repairs,” Adams said. “However, the outage in December was for an extended period of time — almost three weeks, which is really unprecedented.”

Largo residential homes that are hooked into the city’s reclaimed water line will receive the credit, Adams said.

The city credit covers approximately 3,050 residential homes for a total of $33,500. Issuing the credits will cost the city an additional $700 that excludes any city staff time.

Credits will be issued on bills mailed in March and April, the next bimonthly billing cycle.

The dollar amount will be based on three designated customer types: $5 for availability fee customer, $10 for regular customers, and $12.50 for outside sewer district customers

Largo’s reclaimed water system recovers approximately 80% of its direct costs through user fees.

The city’s commercial customer credits will vary by customer type, with $28 for those inside the city and $35 for customers outside it.

The city’s total number of commercial credits is approximately 150, equaling approximately $4,500.

Total forgone revenue from reduced commercial usage is approximately $60,000.

Commercial credits will be issued in March.

In other news

The commissions voted 7-0 to approve the State Legislative Action Agenda for 2020.

The agenda consists of legislative priorities for the year that are developed by the Florida League of Cities, the Suncoast League of Cities and Forward Pinellas.

Each year, the agenda addresses priority issues most likely to have a statewide impact on daily municipal operations and governance.

The FLC Legislative Conference is where members adopt legislative priority issues for the year. The conference was held Aug. 15-17.

State issues the City Commission has indicated it will support include preserving local government control of transportation planning and providing for an equitable transportation funding formula between municipalities and counties.

Commissioner Jamie Robinson said the commission is late in approving the agenda, which could impact the city on bills that are now before the Legislature.

“We’re extremely late in getting to this state legislative agenda to us,” Robinson said. “We’re obviously three weeks into the (state) legislative session, and there are a lot of bills that would correspond to some of the items on here.”

Robinson asked the commission that in the future it approve the agenda a few months before the session.

“Because I think it would help us a lot to advocate for our (city) issues,” Robinson said.

Mayor Woody Brown agreed.

“We should have a goal time to have the priorities in front of the commission and then be finalized at least a couple of months (before the session).”