ECUA Moves Forward Toward Water, Sewer And Sanitation Rate Increases

July 28, 2021

The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority took a final step Tuesday to move toward a vote on increased sanitation, water and sewer rates.

For the average water and sewer customer using 6,000 gallons per month, the added cost will be $1.06. Much of the increase will go to fund a Brownsville sewer expansion project.

The cost of a single 90-gallon sanitation container, with included recycling and bulk service, will jump $1.85 from $24.54 to $26.39 per month. The increase is intended for pay increases for sanitation workers, include CDL drivers.

ECUA board members have said the utility is having trouble hiring and retaining personnel, including those in demand CDL drivers.

“We cannot guarantee that the service is going to be better,” board member Louis Benson said of the sanitation service increase. “We are doing our part to give an opportunity to increase the service. I also firmly believe that if we did not implement this rate increase, we’re sure not to get improved service. So we have to empower the staff with the financial resources that they believe they need to improve the services.”

“I am going to go and sell this rate increase, but I need to sell this rate increase with the fact that we are going to make sure that services are increased as well,” said board member Larry Williams.

ECUA District 5 board member Kevin Stephens said the public needs to know that ECUA uses day labor, not regular employees, for bulk pick ups. He said funds from the rate increase need to go toward that service as well.

“Allot the increased wages to the appropriate departments that will hopefully, in addition to CDL drivers, make it more incentivized to come work with us, and show up, and show up on time and pick that garbage up,” Stevens said. “Fingers crossed. That was the idea anyway.”

“These rate increases are not going to generate us some big windfall. I think that initial increase in rates, i.e. revenue, is going to be absorbed pretty darn quickly between labor and materials,” Stephens noted.

The ECUA board voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to place a public hearing on both rate increases on their agenda for 3 p.m. on August 24. If approved, the rate hikes will take effect on October 1.

Pictured: The Tuesday afternoon meeting of the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority. NorthEscambia.com image, click to enlarge.

Comments

27 Responses to “ECUA Moves Forward Toward Water, Sewer And Sanitation Rate Increases”

  1. retired on July 29th, 2021 7:33 am

    @ J.Larry Seale

    When you get that 15.00 an hour job, that is coming, everything is going up, up, up.

  2. Century on July 28th, 2021 9:03 pm

    ECUA raise the rate even WAY more!!!!!

    and take over Century!!!!!!

    Get these complainers about Century to put their money where their mouth is. Yes you rate payers… Pay up or shut up. /sarc

  3. Joe Dirt on July 28th, 2021 6:32 pm

    ECUA Moves Forward Toward Water, Sewer And Sanitation Rate Increases….

    As Gomer Pyle said once or twice.

    Sir Prize

    Sir Prize

    Sir Prize

  4. Robinhood on July 28th, 2021 5:54 pm

    @Mr. Reality

    I told my wife back when they started recycling all they wanted was for all us to do do THEIR JOB for them and the very reason I did not participate in the program. I made sure they had a job

  5. Bob on July 28th, 2021 3:44 pm

    I hate ECUA. The service sux, the rates sux and you cannot do anything about it.

  6. N. BASS on July 28th, 2021 3:22 pm

    Your sanitation system sucks, and it is broken. Whose bright idea was it to go to 25 special sanitation pickups a week, for the entire county? The truck drives down the street every week, why not pick it up and charge the fee? This county is NEVER going to look good based on this system. Maybe we should volunteer, and load it up and dump it in the sanitation leadership teams, front yards.

  7. Kennie Lyons on July 28th, 2021 12:59 pm

    There’s a lot of fat that can be trimmed at the management level, including in the area of engineering. ECUA is and has always been top heavy. I know this from experience, because I worked there right at 32 years. Cutting back in upper management could clear up unnecessary wasteful spending to the ratepayers of Escambia County Florida and this would allow more money to be allocated to the blue collar employees. And other major thing is the Purchasing Division doesn’t shop around for the best buck for the dollar. And I also know this from experience as well. I’m hoping to run for District 3 again in 2024.

  8. Jerry on July 28th, 2021 11:55 am

    The money is probably going to the Century Sewer upgrade, since Century is incapable of paying for anything.

  9. Resident on July 28th, 2021 11:38 am

    “Do I have ANY option other than ECUA to apply water and sanitation services?”

    Yes. Rainwater. Bottled water. Hose from the neighbor’s house.

  10. L.b. on July 28th, 2021 11:32 am

    Do I have ANY option other than ECUA to apply water and sanitation services? Isn’t it a law where you must have sanitation service but then I only have one choice? This needs to be fixed last year.

  11. H.C.F. on July 28th, 2021 11:27 am

    My ECUA day is Tuesday and the household garbage is still waiting to be picked up. To all that say “the service won’t be any better”, well you are right because it can’t get any worse. Change some of Tuesday’s route to Wednesday. When you finally get to Friday and need to change routes to Saturday – well no one wants to work on Saturday so they will get their butt in gear and pickup when they are supposed to.

    I think I will just cancel my service and share with someone else. Half the cost.

  12. CJ Lewis on July 28th, 2021 11:05 am

    “Much of the increase will go to fund a Brownsville sewer expansion project.” I recall something from 2017 about a Brownsville Sewer Expansion Project Phase I. ECUA’s Capital Improvements Program FY 2021-2025 shows both a Brownsville Sewer Expansion Project ($4 million) and a South Brownsville Sewer Expansion Project ($1 million). Does state law allow ECUA to impose on its own or in concern with Escambia County a special assessment to shift the burden of paying for these (and similar projects) to the property owners that benefit? That would seem a more equitable solution than making everyone pay. As for the sanitation issue, what would be the impact if ECUA contracted out the garbage/recycling/yard waste pick-up to the private sector? Can it do that? Would the cost to ratepayers be less?

  13. SueB on July 28th, 2021 10:48 am

    You people on the ECUA board voted unanimously on Tuesday for a public hearing on both rate increases on their agenda for 3 p.m. on August 24. You people know the rates will increase because the “public” cannot attend the meeting at 3 p.m. And, if the “public” shows up, you people on ECUA Board do not care, rate will be raised.

  14. joy bryant on July 28th, 2021 10:11 am

    WHY NOT!! KICK US WHEN WE ARE DOWN- ITS THE AMERICAN WAY!!!

  15. MR REALITY on July 28th, 2021 9:45 am

    I thought the recycle center was going to LOWER our bills….TRUE BOONDOGGLE FOLKS…..

  16. MR REALITY on July 28th, 2021 9:44 am

    it is amazing all these places that do pay good, like ECUA, used the civid excuse while places like chick fil a are plowing ahead never making one excuse setting record sales…………The big issue is they blow thru money down there like there is no tomorrow. ANd why not, run short, we will just get a rate increase….

  17. customer on July 28th, 2021 9:16 am

    What about adding sewer to subdivisions on septic tanks???????????????????

  18. J.Larry Seale on July 28th, 2021 8:41 am

    well let see here,
    Gulf Power went up,
    Price of GAS is WAY UP
    Food prices are up
    Now ECUA want to go up…..
    Now, where are we to come up
    with the extra money for them ????????????

  19. Bill on July 28th, 2021 8:04 am

    This is the new world….need to train managers to operate as efficiently as possible. Running street sweepers, which is a waste in itself, the same day as trash pick up is just foolish. The managers need to hit the streets and see this. If the attitude of the commissioners is it probably won’t improve service is a defeatist attitude that will never improve service

  20. Don on July 28th, 2021 7:43 am

    Maybe now they can pick up garbage on the day it supposed to be and Didn’t we elect the new guy in district 5 to stop all the money grabs at the place?

  21. A Alex on July 28th, 2021 7:29 am

    Barry Stephens
    You are misleading the public AGAIN. Why i did not want you reelected. Bulk pickup is by certfied CDL drivers that are regular employees by ECUA. your yard pickup is non regular employees . You dont even know whats going on in your own county. Let alone not returned my 3 calls to you while youve been in office

  22. Kate on July 28th, 2021 7:27 am

    Maybe they will start to pick the garbage and other pick ups each time and not have to be phoned that it was forgotten again.

  23. Up-grades on July 28th, 2021 6:17 am

    Time to “up-grade” the fleet of F550’s and pay the diesel bill for everyone to take home nightly…..

  24. Safebear on July 28th, 2021 6:14 am

    @Denbroc – I don’t have time to read the grand jury report but if the “recommended” the time change, that is not a requirement. But, I agree with @concerned with that in this heat, people don’t last as long as they used to and just laying in the heat takes your energy and working in it makes it worse. Everybody wants better services but no one wants to pay for them.

  25. Denbroc on July 28th, 2021 4:26 am

    I thought the Grand Jury report recommended to change ECUA meetings to a later time. At 3:00 many people who are affected by rate hikes are at work trying to earn a living to pay for rate hikes.

  26. concerned on July 28th, 2021 4:04 am

    as someone who has been up and down off delivery trucks my whole life in this heat the hard labor over the years it will wear your back out. rest assure the rate increase is not enough I’m sure I will be bashed for giving my input but trust me their are going to be unforseen expenses on these trucks rolling in hot extreme weather as climate changes. the demand for service is highly on the rise. please rethink this before it passes do it right the first time. ( pay these workers well ) no one wants to pay more I get it. let’s shoot for a extra $7 per customer per household . bingo now we are better secure. thank you

  27. David Huie Green on July 28th, 2021 1:57 am

    Thereby making it even harder to find enough school bus drivers, especially since
    ‘trash don’t talk trash.’





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