TAMPA, Fla. — City of Tampa leaders are expected to vote Thursday evening on a major project to update infrastructure, prevent breakdowns, and provide a long-term, permanent fix to the city's water and wastewater systems.
The average residential customer will see their monthly bill change from $41.29 to $46.50 in the first year, according to the City of Tampa.
The plan to fund these projects is to gradually increase water and wastewater rates over the next seven years. The plan includes the addition of a base charge in order to cover fixed costs during times of low water usage, according to the city's website.
Consumption charges will increase by 3% in the first year and gradually increase for six more years.
City of Tampa leaders say the pipe systems and treatment plants are old and in need of replacement. Some of the equipment and materials are reaching 100 years old, according to the city.
The annual cost to repair broken pipes has reached $20 million.
If the City of Tampa does not replace the pipe that has reached the end of its useful life, these reactive costs will continue to grow and the city says it will not be able to provide reliable water and wastewater services. Traffic delays and congestion will continue to get worse due to main brakes and cave-ins, city leaders said.
The City of Tampa will also offer a Customer Assistance Program to provide relief for qualifying account holders. This program will waive all base charges, offer a free personalized water conservation audit, and include a free water saving device, according to the city.