Naples to notify customers about new water irrigation rate

— Irrigation water rates are in a holding pattern until 2010.

Naples City Council on Wednesday voted 4-3 to notify customers about irrigation water rates higher than originally advertised. That decision paves the way toward setting rates at a higher level than the city had previously established.

The agreement to renotify about the new rates means a final decision on the irrigation rate structure will have to wait until January.

Mayor Bill Barnett and councilwomen Teresa Heitmann and Penny Taylor cast the dissenting votes.

“I’m uncomfortable about this,” Taylor said. “This has far-reaching (effects), you just can’t look at it in the microcosm of irrigation water.”

Council is suggesting a rate structure of $0.63 per 1,000 gallon for general and governmental users, and $0.39 per 1,000 gallon for bulk users.

That structure is slightly lower than what council preliminarily approved in September. That structure — $0.63 per 1,000 gallon for general and government users, and $0.41 per 1,000 gallon for bulk users — was proposed by Port Royal resident Marvin Easton and ran contrary to a recommendation from city consultants.

Naples City Councilman John Sorey suggested the new structure, to give bulk users — mainly golf courses — a discount.

Sorey said he supported Easton’s recommendation because his main objective is to encourage residents to move away from using potable water for irrigation purposes.

“The most important thing is to have a reasonable rate that motivates users to hook up to potable water,” Sorey said.

Jim Fox, the acting city attorney, said the city could move forward with the proposed rate structure as long as the rates aren’t “arbitrary, unreasonable or discriminatory.”

The rate structure will once again be discussed in January.

In other council news:

• Christmas was in the air during Wednesday’s council meeting. Naples City Council approved the Festival of Lights on Third Street South, scheduled for 5 p.m., Nov. 23, and the annual Christmas Walk on Fifth Avenue South, scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 3.

Mulligan's Sports Grille

2935 9th St. N., Naples, FL

• Mulligans Sports Grille, 2041 Ninth Street N., will be allowed live entertainment. The restaurant will be allowed to have one musical act perform karaoke or play the guitar from 8 to 11 p.m. Tuesdays and Sundays.

• Sweet Mama’s Island Cuisine, 336 Ninth St. N., is a step closer to serving alcohol. Council approved a distance waiver needed for the restaurant to obtain a license.

The waiver was needed because the restaurant is located within 500 feet of five restaurants that have alcohol permits. The restaurant hopes to sell wine and beer for on-site consumption.

Connect with Naples reporter Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster at http://www.naplesnews.com/staff/jenna_buzzacco

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