Sarasota utility bills will rise with new plan
SARASOTA - Water and sewer bills are on the rise in Sarasota.
It all starts with the 11–year upgrade plan. Which is a massive, $300 million overhaul of Sarasota's neglected water and sewer infrastructure, and city commissioners agreed cannot be postponed. Unfortunately, the plan for meeting this steep cost by increasing usage rates by 3.5% annually over the next 11 years.
A proposed ordinance that would gradually boost monthly rates to cover the city utility's operational and improvement expenses without raising taxes passed on its first reading, 3–2, according to the Herald Tribune. Commissioners Hagen Brody and Shelli Freeland Eddie voted against moving the plan forward. If the ordinance is adopted in this form, a city resident now paying $80 a month for water and wastewater service — about average — would be charged $116.78 in the year 2030, for a cumulative increase of 46% over time.
Utilities director Bill Riebe pointed out that customers have seen no rate increase since 2016, and argued that a predictable, pay–as–you–go structure to fund needed capital improvements over 11 years would be preferable to the uncertainty many municipal utilities operate under.