Two more weeks.
That’s how long Naples officials have to develop a new irrigation water rate structure.
Naples City Council on Wednesday voted 4-3 to delay a decision regarding the new rate structure until the Sept. 16 meeting.
Councilman Gary Price and councilwomen Teresa Heitmann and Dee Sulick cast the dissenting votes.
“For us to make an educated decision, it is important for us to find out what the actual flows and usages are,” Sulick said.
“We’re making decisions where we’re spending a great deal of money, and not having the actual numbers when we’re looking at it.”
Andy Woodcock, a city consultant, in June presented revised irrigation rates, and asked council to choose one of them. Council at the time directed staff to notify water customers of a change that would raise irrigation water rates across the board for all users.
Council on Wednesday was expected to vote on the first reading of the ordinance, which would have increased rates for general users to $0.89 per 1,000 gallon from $0.82 per 1,000 gallon; bulk users would see an increase to either $0.39 per 1,000 gallon or $0.40 per 1,000 gallon from $0.33 per 1,000 gallon.
The bulk user difference was based on whether the user – often a golf course – had on-site storage for water.
“I’ve always supported a discount to bulk users, but I can’t support a policy for residents who didn’t ask for this,” Heitmann said.
Council asked Woodcock to develop a plan using a fourth alternative presented in June. Woodcock said he planned to use those numbers – $1.21 per 1,000 gallon for general users and $0.49 or $0.50 for bulk users, based on whether the user has storage – and assume a 70 percent cost recovery plan.
The hope has been that the cost of irrigation water system would be spread across all customers.
Follow Naples reporter Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster at twitter.com/ndn_jbuzzacco.