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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 7 years ago

Flagler County absorbs Plantation Bay water utility, residents to pay up

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Despite reservations, Flagler County officials agreed to take over the Plantation Bay water utility. Residents are expected to see monthly bill increases up to $20.

BY MEGAN HOYE | STAFF WRITER

Before Flagler County officials approved an interlocal agreement with the city of Bunnell, Feb. 6, to take over the Plantation Bay water utility, they acknowledged that they were paying too much for a system in disrepair.

“I’ve been opposed to (this purchase) basically because it’s a bad deal,” said Flagler County Commissioner Barbara Revels. “However, these people need to have better water, so with all kinds of reservations about this, and knowing it’s a bad deal, I’m going to support the motion.”

Other commissioners voiced similar concerns, before voting to move forward with the $5.5 million purchase, which carries an anticipated $7.6 million of additional expense to rehabilitate the utility.

The motion passed 4-1 and came after a four-hour joint workshop of the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners and the Bunnell City Commission. Bunnell also voted in favor.

Plantation Bay residents complain of yellow bathwater, and engineers say the entire system could fail at any time, rendering more than 1,600 people waterless.

The plan is to revive the utility, and the costs will be shouldered by Plantation Bay residents, through rate increases.

An average customer using 4,000 gallons of water each month could expect a total increase of $17.58 per month for water and sewer.

Officials said the rates could decrease if the customer base were broadened as the vacant lots in the DRI are filled.

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