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Pinellas Park sewer rates to leap in 2001

By ANNE LINDBERG

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 9, 2000


PINELLAS PARK -- Expect sewer rates to jump by 41 percent next year, garbage rates to rise a little, and the property tax rate to stay the same.

"This is significant," City Manager Jerry Mudd said of the sewer rate increase. "It's going to have a terrific impact on people with fixed incomes."

Unfortunately, Mudd said, nothing can be done about the increased costs. Pinellas County, which provides much of the sewer service to Pinellas Park, is raising its rates. The city is passing on the increase to consumers.

Mudd delivered the bad news last week to the City Council during a workshop designed to acquaint members with the proposed 2000-01 operating budget.

The good news, Mudd said, is that the tax rate will remain the same, at 5.0788 mills. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed value.

An owner of a home assessed at $75,000 with a $25,000 homestead exemption will pay about $254 in city taxes for the coming year.

While the millage will remain the same, residents' tax bills are likely to go up because of an increase in property values.

For the money being spent in the $52-million budget, Pinellas Park residents will get 12 new full-time employees, including two police officers and four library employees. That brings the total number to 500 full-time and 82 part-time city employees. The personnel cost is $24.8-million, or about 48 percent of the budget.

The bad news begins with garbage rates, which are expected to rise by about 2.5 percent. The huge sewer rate increase, actually 41.3 percent, means the average user of 6,000 gallons per month will pay $9.03 more for sewer service.

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