Bradenton considers $33.75 inactive monthly water charge

jtate@bradenton.comOctober 18, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Bradenton city administrators are considering eliminating seasonal accounts and charging a base fee for inactive accounts.

Although no action was taken during Wednesday's city council workshop, if the proposal is approved, seasonal residents will not be able to shut water on and off without incurring monthly charges during inactivity.

The city now charges a base rate for all active customers.

Carl Callahan, Bradenton city clerk, said the growing city is looking to improve billing practices and better maintain its water system.

"As long as you're a part of the system, then you should be paying for the ongoing maintenance and operations of that system," said Callahan. "The change would be as long as you're connected to the system, whether you're active or inactive, there would be a continuous charge to your account."

The Bradenton City Council asked for more details on how

the changes would work.

A seasonal account holder now can cut off the water for $15 and pay $15 more to have the service turned back on. In between there would be no monthly water charge.

Callahan said residents who try to avoid paying a full monthly bill are also an issue. He said some residents don't want to pay if they are only in their residence a few days a week.

"They constantly have the public works cutting on and off their water," he said.

Dave Beauchamp, support service section manager of public works and utilities, stressed details are still being worked out, but inactive accounts could be assessed $33.75 monthly. Manatee County does not have seasonal accounts. Active and inactive account holders pay a $40.56 ongoing base fee.

The proposed ongoing base rate for inactive customers would add $200,000 to the Public Works budget.

No charge for Bradenton trash and sewer services would be assessed.

Seasonal Bradenton resident Georgeanna Mygrant, who lives half the year in Indiana, said she is for the city charging a continuous base rate, although she will not be affected by the proposed change.

"I don't see anything wrong with that. They have to get their money," said Mygrant. "I assumed there was a flat fee."

Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.

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