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Monday evening saw the Marco Island City Council take testimony on a new rate schedule for the water and wastewater utility.

The new schedule will find large water users paying a higher share of the cost for the utility, while smaller users will pay less.

Council voted 5-2 to approve the new structure, with council members Larry Honig and Victor Rios objecting.

The second reading of the ordinance will be held on Oct. 19 in the city council chambers starting at 5:30 p.m

Rick Medwedeff, general manager of the Marco Island Marriott Beach and Golf Resort, asked for relief.

“This appears to be a 30-40 percent increase in our cost for those services,” said Medwedeff. “Please go back to the consultant and relook at the schedule.”

Craig Woodward, who owns North Marco Utilities, was concerned that he may be looking at a 52 percent increase.

“This represents a seismic shift in the cost of these services,” said Woodward.

Council member Bob Brown said the new plan would simplify the process.

“This reduces 18 pages of how your bill is figured and reduces that to 3-4,” said Brown.

Councilman Amadeo Petricca reviewed bills from single-family homeowners, commercial and condominiums and found that many will see reductions of 5-20 percent.

“I’m not saying large users are not going to see an increase, some will,” said Petricca.

Resident Ed Walsh suggested the city look at waiving the permit fee for the installation of a “deduct meter” for irrigation. “This would really help with the cost,” said Walsh.

City Manager Roger Hernstadt reported that the utility department has been reviewing a possible program for city staff install those meters and will hope to report back to council and show a substantial reduction of that cost.

Residents and businesses may calculate their new rates by visiting the city’s website at cityofmarcoisland.com and utilize the rate calculator found on the site.

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