City Officials At It Again

Suggestion: Have your last WPB City Water bill handy when reading this post.

2004 The City of WPB Water Bills took on a new look and the CCF (Cubic Feet) was not listed on your water bill. Along with the new look came improvement. The city added the information that 1 CCF= 748 Gal. of water

While shopping in Race Track (45th. St.) I occasionally run into city workers, who recognize me from city hall, and are more than willing to speak with me. One conversation I had, I was told billing differed depending whether you lived east or west of 95. I can’t confirm his information and will include my last water bill received for 2015 so a comparison can be made by you and will bring to your attention “Day’s of Service” I live west of 95.

SDC10001 (2)

Once again the city changed the appearance of the water bill, eliminating the number of gallons per 1CCF (748) but left the No. of CCF’s used for billing purposes.

The city recently changed the water meters to more efficient units, and if a homeowner had the smallest leak these new meters would note it and charge accordingly.
Homeowners checked to insure their plumbing had no leaks, and if they found any they would be repaired. Smart move, water, along with money should not be wasted. So ended the monthly city worker who walked the neighborhood’s and input information into a hand held computer. The next time I met a reader he explained as he sat in his truck and aimed the new device at the newly installed meter’s (which in my neighborhood is located on the sidewalk) and information was automatically installed on the computer. He stated the new system was much faster and more accurate. He could read a dozen meters without moving his car. Just aim and shoot.

If you pay attention to your water bill–good for you–for those who don’t, and automatically pay your bill, this section is written for you with the hope I explain information so it is understood.

The first home my parents built (1955) came complete with a septic tank. My dad worried for years the tank would overflow, and he was the first to teach us water conservation. Every trip to the shower and brushing of teeth came with the reminder septic tank, septic tank, septic tank. We were taught not to waste water, not because of the cost of water, but because of the damn septic tank possibly overflowing. It never did, but lesson learned.

Years later I still conserve as much water as possible, not because of a septic tank but due to high cost of water in WPB.

If you check your water bill I would bring to your attention your monthly usage and “Day’s of Service” I use my bill as an example, and please keep in mind that 748 gallons of water=1CCF.

I went back to 2012 on my water bills and found the following.
2012 One month I used 2 CCF, 11 months 1CCF.
2013 Two month’s I used 2 CCF, 10 month’s 1 CCF.
2014 Two month’s I used 2 CCF, 10 month’s 1 CCF.
2015 Five month’s I used 2 CCF, 7 month’s 1 CCF. (Something wrong here)

With no change to my routine, and constantly looking for leaks, and finding none, I questioned my water usage, and my rate increase. Here is what I discovered.

If I vacationed in Mongolia for a month my bill would reflect O CCF used and my bill would reflect the minimum billing of l CCF

When I returned and actually used 500 gallons of water I would pay for lCCF. (748 Gal.)
OK so far so good. So why has my bill reflected 2 CCF for 5 months in 2015? What I found is a difference in “Day’s of Service.”  My bill rose when the city read my meter, not in 30 or 31 day’s but 33 to 36 day’s. The new meter’s may be more reliable and accurate and if that’s the case, the city needs to hire more meter readers with more hand held computers. If my meter reads 1 gal. over 748 after 33 days my bill goes up. The following month I will use less but still pay for 748 Gal. A win-win for the city, while residents receive the shaft. Here is what my bill for February 2016 read.

Service From 1-26-16

Service To 2-24-16

Days of Service:  30

Previous Read:   78

Current Read:    78

Total Use:       O CCF

Here is the difference in water bills:

Residential Water:

l CCF                                          2 CCF

Usage: $2.42                             $4.84     Doubles

Utility Tax $2.33                      $ 2.58     ^.25

Residential Wastewater:

Usage:  $3.47                            $6.94      Doubles

The figures above represent the difference between 1 & 2 CCF If you have 3 or more kids and use 4 or 5 CCF you have my sincere condolences.

I was not on vacation in Mongolia, did use water, and when I questioned Assistant City Administrator, Scott Kelly. (Mr Kelly is the go to guy for water concerns) and asked why my water meter wasn’t read he responded with “I don’t know” I may have used 500 gal. and paid the maximum bill but my next bill will reflect 2 CCF used for a higher water bill. I will pay more money, for using less water, and I’m not alone.

Another slap in the face from elected officials.

Feb. 29,016 City Commission meeting held, and I attended.

Item # 16 reads: “Public Hearing of Resolution No. 51-16 providing notice of the City’s intent to collect non-ad valorem assessments levied for sanitation services through the property tax bills, if the Commission approves such assessment in 2016”

Before each meeting I go online and read the agenda item’s, and was upset when I read #16. I pulled my last water bill to check my monthly bill for “Residential Sanitation” and found “Garbage & Trash” has not has not changed from 2001 and remains at $16.00/month. Recycling in 2001 was $1.40 and 2016 is $2.85. I complained to the Mayor & Commissioners telling them I paid $192.00/year for Garbage & Trash and $34.20/year for Recycling for a total of $226.20/year, and now they want to charge more via non-ad valorem. The Mayor explained the charge for Residential Sanitation would be removed from our monthly bill. I was OK with that until 3 day’s later when it dawned on me the city wouldn’t charge me $226.20 on my tax bill and could set the rate much higher, and they will. Residents living on Social Security would find it easier to pay a total of $18.85/month instead of hundreds added to their tax bills. I know I would.

“Utility Assistant Program”
The city offer’s a $10.00 monthly credit on your bill if you are low or fixed income.
Check it out and see if you apply. I also believe if the city moves Residential Sanitation to your tax bill this credit will disappear due to receiving a lower monthly bill.

Remember 2008 when the City approved a “WPB Fire Protection” resolution and you were presented with a $25.00 charge on your tax bill under non-ad valorem? In 2014 the city wanted it raised to $100.00 and when residents were up in arms we were told other cities were receiving $100.00. What the city didn’t bother to mention was the fact that most cities in Palm Beach County were not involved in the practice. It is my opinion the city realized their mistake and wished they had fixed the amount at $100.00 to begin with. They will not make the same mistake with the sanitation and will go high immediately. Better to ask forgiveness, than permission.

Recently City Commission were voting to add tax dollars to a new fire station under construction after City Manager Jeff Green told Commissioners the building was over budget and more dollars were needed. Construction under way consisted of poured flooring, four walls and a roof. This cost taxpayers $1,000,000.00 dollars for a shell of a building.

Here’s what you may not be aware of. The city charges residents $2.85 to pick up our recyclables, dumps it at Solid Waste, free of charge. Solid Waste then sell’s all material, and the City of WPB receives a percentage of the sales. To add insult to injury, on your tax bill under non-ad valorem assessment “Solid Waste Authority of PBC” (Palm Beach County) assessed me on my 2015 taxes $170.00, which they may very well use to pay WPB it’s share of percentage made from recycling.  Good deal for the city and they never tell residents how much of a percentage they are making on the deal.  Please pay attention now, or be surprised next November when you receive your tax bill.