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St. Petersburg to limit reclaimed water use

The City Council, which had voted against the measure last week, reversed itself when water pressure didn't increase after a wastewater treatment plant, which had been closed for maintenance, reopened.

By BRYAN GILMER

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 2, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Last week, Bill Foster was one of three City Council members who voted against rationing reclaimed water as a way to restore pressure to the city's demand-plagued system.

On Thursday, he was the one who proposed it again.

"I do want to defend myself and my fellow stooges, Larry and Curly," Foster said in an apparent reference to council Chairman Larry Williams and council member Kathleen Ford, who voted with Foster last week.

Last week, Mayor David Fischer called the plan to prescribe three watering days a week for reclaimed customers a "no-brainer." Of the three dissenting council members he said, "I guess some no-brains kicked in."

Foster had hoped that plugging the Albert Whitted wastewater treatment plant, which has been under repair, back into the reclaimed water system this week would help raise the pressure without watering restrictions.

The pressure now is higher, according to Utilities Director Bill Johnson, but still not high enough.

Fischer's comment also provoked Ford to write a memo addressed to "The Honorable David J. "No Brainer" Fischer, Mayor," with the suggestion, "Do not schedule any further maintenance that will take reclaimed storage off line during peak demand. (Duh)"

Ford was the only council member to vote against the restrictions Thursday.

The other major issue the council discussed Monday was a pair of mid-year requests for federal Community Development Block Grant money. After lengthy discussion, the board gave preliminary approval to two plans Thursday.

The African People's Education and Defense Fund asked for $177,155 to renovate a building at 1327 Dr. M.L. King (Ninth) St. S for use as a fitness center and neighborhood grocery store.

The Center Against Spouse Abuse requested $400,000 to renovate a building at 1011 First Ave. N for administrative and counseling offices and a thrift store.

The contracts will have to come back before the council for final approval.

Also Thursday, the council:

Authorized the mayor to apply for a $1.5-million grant to buy more land around Clam Bayou for preservation.

Agreed to start refunding utility deposits of less than $499 to customers who live in apartments or duplexes if they have a good payment history through their first 24 months. The city already applies that practice to single-family homes.

New rules

The St. Petersburg City Council voted to restrict the use of reclaimed water to certain days of the week.

Even addresses: Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday

Odd addresses: Saturday, Monday and Wednesday

The restrictions will expire July 1.

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