Homeowners and businesses in Daytona Beach will soon be paying more for water, and a big part of the reason why, is that they are not using enough water. The city plans to add two new fees to customer's water bills, likely $1.50 each per month for water and wastewater.
City Spokeswoman Susan Cerbone tells FOX 35 that the city has an aging water and sewer infrastructure that needs repair.
"A lot of it is more than 50 years old, and we've identified parts that are more than 100 years old. As you can imagine the maintenance and upkeep of these pipes is very expensive and very extensive."
The city will take the new fees and put them aside to be used only for maintenance and system upgrades.
"Three dollars a month if that's what the fee would be would raise about $900,000 a year, so we're not looking to replace everything in the city. It's just to maintain it."
The city has more than 1,300 miles of water and sewer pipes. We got a predictable answer from people who were paying their water bills at City Hall. Most were not pleased to learn about the new fees.
"How can they say people are not using enough water?" asked Daytona Beach resident Tyree. "I mean water is used every day?"
Halima thinks it's ridiculous. "Because, first and foremost, people can't even pay for their water bills on a regular basis, on a monthly basis."
Gary says, "Well I can see the city's point of view on this one I guess, but still you know your rates are going up. So either way I guess you have to pay more whether you use more water and you have to pay more, or you're not using enough and they raise the rates, either way you have to pay more."
The two biggest reasons besides the infrastructure needs are that revenue is down because the year has been wetter than past years, meaning people use less water on their lawns, and so many homes are empty in Daytona Beach that the city cannot collect as much revenue as they have in the past.
The final decision on how much the two fees will be comes up at a City Council meeting next month. The city also plans to add service fees for calls made to someone's home by the water department.
Many cities have added this fee in recent years. A service visit during business hours for anything besides turning on someone's water is likely to be $35. An after hours visit will cost $150.