ECUA Sanitation, Water And Sewer Rate Increases Proposed; D5 Rep Says He Won’t Raise Rates ‘Willy-Nilly’

June 30, 2021

The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority is proposing a rate increase for water, sewer and sanitation rates.

The proposed increase for sanitation services is 9.5%, which would be about $2.33 for garbage and included recycling service.The proposed water and sewer rate increase is 2.5%, which would amount to about 76-cents on a residential customer using 6,000 gallons of water each month.

During a District 5 town hall meeting Monday night, ECUA District 5 board member Kevin Stephens faced tough questioning from citizens who stated he said he campaigned on a promise of no rate increases.

But Stephens said he stated during the campaign that he would raise rates only as a last option after first looking for ways to cut expenditures.

“I’m going to look at all the information; I’m going to look at the budget,” he said. “I’m going to find out where we can cut costs. We are going to look at our house first. Where can we cut things where it comes to waste when it comes to inefficiencies, redundancies, overlap, that sort of thing. When it comes to, like I said, spending. That’s our big thing.

“If I’ve done the best I can do when it comes to cutting spending looking at budget restructuring our debt load — keep in mind there’s about a $150 million DEP consent order that we’re putting money back into the kitty to pay for. If I can’t find the money through cutbacks, then absolutely, I would vote for one (a rate increase). But not willy-nilly, and not knowing where the money’s going to go to.”

Stephens said he continually gets complaints about missed pick ups, and that can be attributed a driver and laborer shortage. He said the sanitation rate increase would go toward salary increases for those employees and to bolster recruiting efforts.

“We have agreed that, that increase, if approved, would be targeted to employee pay. Not maybe, not general fund, but targeted. In fact, it was specifically designated for employee raises,” the District 5 representative said.

“I can tell you definitively if we don’t … at $14.50 an hour to start out with, our biggest competitor to retain our employees, our drivers, the ones that come to pick up our garbage right now, is the private sector and the city (of Pensacola). If the city gets wind of us proposing raising our employees’ pay, they instantly send out a proposal to one-up us.” He said the City of Pensacola currently charges 11% higher rates than ECUA.

Pictured: ECUA District 5 representative Kevin Stephens speaks during a District 5 town hall meeting Monday evening at the Molino Community Center. photo, click to enlarge.


27 Responses to “ECUA Sanitation, Water And Sewer Rate Increases Proposed; D5 Rep Says He Won’t Raise Rates ‘Willy-Nilly’”

  1. His home on July 1st, 2021 8:12 am

    Guess you guys really don’t know but he has a big fine home with pool and outdoor kitchen at pool with beer on tap on the below barth

  2. J.s on July 1st, 2021 8:05 am

    On all this recycling with ECUA is a joke i live in the Bratt area and have video of the garbage truck emptying both cans in the same truck I guess to save time this recycling crap is a joke I try to but they make it not worth my time

  3. Wake up district 5!!!!! on June 30th, 2021 11:44 pm

    “District 5 representative.” You are kidding me right?!?!? The man lived downtown before the election, and still does. He has never lived in district 5, although he owns property up here. The only person he represents is his own self interest. He has business interests in Extreme Septic and a construction firm (just to name a few) anyone see a conflict of interest there?!?!? Seriously, he posted his Fl DL online to “prove” where he lives. It was changed to the address he swears he’s lived at for years just days before he registered to run. Then days later he went down to the voters registration and changed his registration to list his district 5 address too. As soon as he was elected he changed everything back to his downtown address. Don’t believe me, check it yourself it is all public record!!! He also can’t get his lies straight so he’ll tell you, he’s a veteran and a Christian. While I truly have a lot of respect for folks who fall into both of those groups, those who are usually respectable members of society never have to tell anyone they belong to either group, instead they just walk the walk. Nope he uses it as a political shield. If he will lie about where he lives what else will he lie to us about? Increasing our rates? After campaigning he wouldn’t……oh wait he just said he’s about too. Wake up district 5. Stop voting for the person with money and flashy elections signs. He spent his own money to run his campaign….thousands of dollars from his several businesses and now he’s saying he isn’t taking a salary, but donating it. Why?!?! Connect the dots for yourself. Please don’t vote for him the next go around. Send a signal to him and every other politician trying to line their pockets with business deals and our money(taxes or ECUA payments), vote him out or let him go represent the downtown crowd if they will have him.

    Ps- he said he was a smart business man which is why he has his homestead exemption on his downtown address, his wife’s business, instead of his home address. Sound like fraud to me. Again, don’t believe me watch the video of district 5’s town hall meeting.

  4. A Alex on June 30th, 2021 9:24 pm

    First, you dont pay for recycle because if ALL would do it right there would be no oncrease needed. Recyle CANT work when you dump your yard debris or food garbage into the recycle cans. When yard debris and nonrecycles are in the cans then the driver must dump the load in the landfill. HOMEOWNERS, LEARN WHAY IS TO BE RECYCLED AND MY RATES WILL NOT INCREASE. ask your commissioner or the driver

  5. William Reynolds on June 30th, 2021 9:18 pm

    “Still have never heard what the grand jury found in 2018 which has not made public.”

    The 2018 grand jury report was released in September 2020.

  6. StraightShooter on June 30th, 2021 8:11 pm

    It will never get better. The Escambia County Utility Authority (ECUA) was created as a local governmental body, corporate and politic, by chapter 81-376, Laws of Florida.
    They answer to nobody.
    Still have never heard what the grand jury found in 2018 which has not made public.
    Lois Benson and DeDe Riche have made a fortune off escambia county taxpayers. Now Stephens is in the money train.

  7. L.b on June 30th, 2021 5:59 pm

    ECUA is a monopoly. If I had a choice for another service provider I would quickly switch. They do not pick up as scheduled. I remember when they picked up trash twice a week. Now it’s only once(hopefully) to only find out the driver didn’t dump the can fully. When I call there’s always some explanation of why and they will correct but have never done so. I shouldn’t be forced to pay for bad service.

  8. Mikey G on June 30th, 2021 1:47 pm

    I think before they worry about rate increases they should worth about picking up the garbage when their supposed to. This is 4 weeks with no one picking up recycling without me calling. This week I called 3 times and still no one picked it up and I’m still waiting for a call back from a supervisor

  9. Big Jim on June 30th, 2021 1:46 pm

    The most regular aspect of ECUA’s solid waste service is they regularly miss picking up our recycling. If we don’t call the very next day we are gaslighted that the problem is our fault for not letting ECUA know soon enough that they didn’t do their job, and we have to wait another week.

  10. TaxPayer on June 30th, 2021 11:43 am

    Hey, Chris-
    Not all of us live in the country or have a pickup truck with which to hump our stuff to the dump. Take a breath and educate yourself before you get all big and bad behind that keyboard.

  11. Sherrie L Cook on June 30th, 2021 11:10 am

    @ SusieQ – I feel your pain. Single, with low garbage/recycle output. I’m being forced to pay for weekly pickup of Trash and Recyclables. I only put the Recyle can out once a month. They have a Monopoly on the Citizens and force us to pay for serice we don’t need. I would gladly take my trash to the Dump to save the $40.00 I pay for trash/recycle pickup. Those of us that are Retired or on fixed income are being robbed.
    I hate ECUA.

  12. Suzie Q on June 30th, 2021 9:58 am

    @Chris – If it were only that easy! I am single & don’t generate very much trash as most of my meals are eaten in restaurants. I wish I had the option to take my own trash to the dump, but being an ECUA water customer, I am forced to use their garbage service, otherwise they will cut off my water! They have us over a barrel! I know an older couple who had a deep well installed on their property & intended to use it as their water source. ECUA wouldn’t allow them to do that!

  13. Jason on June 30th, 2021 9:45 am

    @Chris —- I’m not paying for the convenience of the service. I’m not paying cause I am too lazy to go to the dump or having another means to dispose of my trash. I am paying for this service as it is mandated by County Ordinance 82-171, which reads as follows:

    “Every owner of real property containing five living units or less in the mandatory collection area located south of Stone Container Road, east of U.S. Highway 29, and south of Kingsfield Road, east of County Road 297-A, including all property contiguous to U.S. Highway 29, Kingsfield Road and County Road 297-A, generating waste within the county shall be responsible to subscribe for pick-up and removal services with the collector franchised or otherwise authorized by the county.”……

  14. Michal on June 30th, 2021 9:34 am

    If you are on ECUA’s system you have to pay the garbage fee, whether you take the trash to the road or the dump.

  15. Jenna on June 30th, 2021 9:14 am

    I don’t mind an increase if they were doing the job!! They have missed picking up my garbage and recycling numerous times. Yard trash pick up is a joke! It takes weeks to get it picked up and then they leave such a mess it’s pathetic. I am thinking of cancelling my service and this may put me there!

  16. ensley on June 30th, 2021 9:09 am

    First ECUA goes up, then it will be the natural gas bill ,then gulf power, then the phone bill, in the meantime social security will go up 1% if we are lucky.

  17. mitch326 on June 30th, 2021 8:36 am

    Like uncle Joe said ( whispering ) Pay them more!more!more!. Hey at least us lazy people won’t get taxed higher. Uncle Joe promised ! NOT! Covid is not the blame for all this.

  18. Bill on June 30th, 2021 8:20 am

    We need to have the management manage through these situations at the street level, you will see multiple trucks in the same neighborhood crossing each other’s path. This is a tremendous waste of time and money.

  19. SueB on June 30th, 2021 8:05 am

    STOP Recycling will bring customer’s bill down – no truck, no driver, no helper needed.

  20. Michael on June 30th, 2021 7:31 am

    Hey Chris
    Where do you live? If you are on ECUA`s system you have to pay for garbage pickup, doesn’t matter if you take to the road or dump. Educate yourself girl

  21. I need a new truck!!! on June 30th, 2021 7:23 am

    Ahhhhh. Time for the annual rate increase…. Sanitation Dept. needs a new line of F550’s to drive home each night on $3.50/gal. diesel….. get called out < 5% of the time.

  22. Klondike Kid on June 30th, 2021 7:07 am

    I’ve been waiting for over 2 weeks for ECUA to pick up a yard debris pile in front of my house , after calling them twice. If anything , a rate REDUCTION is in order.

  23. Mary Kimberly Little on June 30th, 2021 6:41 am

    You guys keep raising the rates…keep servicing less…going weeks without yard debris picked up..garbage on the side of the road for weeks if not months ..missed service..raising recyling rates..even though its going to the landfill eventually…the drivers aren’t getting any raises?….how much money is the board making along with all its management staff…?….no other options for us except to take your crappy service…and yes it can go to the landfill where they are raising the rates …can’t win …people need to find a burn barrel .and people need to stop flushing their toilets..its getting ridiculous what it costs to flush a toilet according to ECUA..geez…

  24. Chris on June 30th, 2021 6:22 am

    Ok, let’s keep in mind that the money you folks are complaining about paying is a CONVENIENCE FEE. That, simply put, is a fee that is being charged because the overwhelming majority of you are either too “entitled” or you are too lazy to take your own trash to the dump.

    If you can do the job better, then cancel your service and get after it. Otherwise, sit back, shut up, and let the government continue to squander your money away because you’re too proud or just too dang lazy to do the job yourself.

  25. joy br(yant on June 30th, 2021 5:32 am

    The service is PITIFUL! I am speaking of trash pick up (or miss) it is constant!! BUT the other part is our roads are NOT maintained by he county AND AFTER 25 years of living on a cul-de-sac THE DRIVERS are totally tearing our road apart with their turning around! They back up on the grass (close t the water lines) WE PAY MORE -so PICK UP AND LEARN TO DRIVE!!! I think that ECUA should repair the part of the road that THEY TORE UP

  26. James on June 30th, 2021 4:18 am

    Drivers regularly missed garbage and recycling pickups when ECUA had the Santa Rosa County contract. That was before Covid so can’t blame a labor shortage from then. In all fairness, Waste Pro hasn’t served any better since it took over the contract; so poorly, in fact, that their rate increase shortly after acquiring the contract and their missed pickups resulted in us cancelling our recycling service.

  27. Jason on June 30th, 2021 1:03 am

    I have a rental property in the City in which I provide the garbage service as a cost of their rent. The City Garbage bill is $29.45 per month. For this fee the tenants get garbage, recycling and yard waste pick-up each week. If there are any large items, electronics etc, they are billed separately for that collection. Every three months the City rate is adjusted based on fuel prices.

    I am surprised the ECUA rate wasnt a higher increase than what is proposed.