City of Sarasota plans $15M in utilities projects
SARASOTA — City administrators have planned $15 million in water and sewer capital improvement projects over the next year, including the first steps in the thorny and long-delayed Lift Station 87 project.
But after more than a decade of annual utility rate increases, including back-to-back years of 6 percent hikes, city water and sewer customers will not see an increase in their rates this year, Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell announced Tuesday.
"That's the first time we've sat here and said 'No rate increase' since 2005," Tidwell said, pointing to a smiley face on his budget slide. "Yeah, I'm happy about that."
Holding the rate steady is expected to keep the average city water and sewer bill, assuming 4,000 gallons of usage, at about $80 per month, according to city estimates.
The city utility can fund more than 20 capital projects and six new hires next year with current rates and $677,000 in extra annual revenue from a new contract to sell treated water to the Braden River Utilities in Lakewood Ranch, Tidwell said.