Sanford water rates could go up by 10 percent

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SANFORD, Fla. - Just days after the city of Altamonte Springs said it wanted to raise water rates for customers, another city is following suit with an even bigger rate hike.

Sanford wants to jack up prices by nearly 10 percent.

Sanford resident Akbar Basil follows basic tips to conserve water.

“Try not to stay in the shower for 15 minutes,” Basil said. “Try eight minutes.”

Those kinds of conservation efforts have worked well. But along with no growth in the city, city revenues have dropped, and now, officials are considering raising water rates by 8 percent.

“The city is raising water rates because we are not using enough,” Basil said. “It's really funny.”

The city is about to take on $25 million in debt to finish two major improvement projects to the water system.

In April, an overhaul will begin at Sanford's two wastewater treatment plants to make reclaimed water, cleaner.

It's all work that is required by Florida and the federal government.

“We are trying to keep (the rate) as low as possible but still get the funds needed do the large projects that are mandated by regulatory folks,” said Paul Moore, utility director of Sanford.

City officials said the average water bill will go up about $5 a month, but it's a trend WFTV is seeing across the county. Altamonte Springs just raised its rates, and Oviedo, Winter Springs and Casselberry are considering doing the same.

If approved, Sanford's rates will go up on Oct. 1. The commission is expected to approve the increased water rates next month.