Deltona, FL - Residents of the city of Deltona could see their water bill go up sometime this year. The results of a revenue sufficiency study of Deltona Water are not promising. During a recent Deltona City Commission workshop, a consultant for Stantec Consulting Services presented a plan to the Commission that proposes raising water rates 15 percent and wastewater rates five percent this year. The plan allows the city to then keep both rates at five percent after this year through the 10-year forecast.
Mayor Heidi Herzberg said this is a result of the rates not being increased for effectively 10 years.
The utility was purchased by the city in 2003. It was previously owned by Minnesota Power & Light and Florida Water who had not raised rates for at least five years prior to the sale. Herzberg said when Dennis Mulder was elected Mayor in 2005, a rate study suggested a 17.5 percent increase for five years. The increase went on for three years but in 2012, according to Herzberg, several commissioners decided they didn't want the increases to continue. They held water rallies with citizens and the last two years of increases were no implemented.
Which brings us to 2019 and a study that says if there is no rate increase, Deltona’s utilities will run out of cash reserves and operate with a deficit. That would violate the bond covenant that supports Deltona’s debt for its water and sewage systems.
Herzberg said what's been recommended by Stantec is to raise the rate for water only customers by 17 or 17.5 percent for one year. She said that is not for customers that are on water and sewer. Herzberg siad she is a water only customer and her monthly bill is around $22 so a 17.5 percent increase would add up to around $3.75 monthly.
The issue will be discussed in a workshop at least one more time according to Herzberg then it could go to the Commission for a vote. But before that happens, a lot more information will need to be looked at. Herzberg said that something has to happen and that there's not much left in the way of reserves.