City Council Nov. 13 Meeting Brief: Water/Wastewater Rates Increase

Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, Green Cove Springs – Green Cove Springs City Council passed the second and final reading to increase water and wastewater rates for commercial and residential properties, effective immediately.

This measure increases the monthly water rate by three percent and the wastewater rate by 17 percent. For the average customer using 3,500 gallons a month, this will add 35 cents to the monthly water bill and $4.06 to the monthly wastewater bill. These increases will match the increased use of both the City’s water and wastewater utilities, as well as directly pay back loans the city is currently using to improve both utility systems to handle the increased use.

Some of those improvements that were passed in the Nov. 13 meeting include designing and building new sewer lines to reroute the Cove Apartments and Cove Plaza from Lift Station #2, which is old and in disrepair, to US 17 South force main. This project will require surveying, permitting, blueprints and construction. The City Council approved $71,000 to Mittauer & Associates to design and bid the modifications for this project.

The City Council also approved a new vacuum truck for the Water Department at the cost of $359,961.62. This will help the water and wastewater crews safely repair water and sewage lines when needed. The truck currently used by the department has been in service for over eight years and nearing the need for replacement.

Water, sewer, reclaimed water and electric utilities at the Black Creek Village Development were also approved by City Council. While not located within city limits, the development is still in the City’s water and sewer utility service area. The city will now be responsible for the routine operation and maintenance of the utilities, while the developer will be responsible for establishing the utilities and maintenance for three years.

City Council also approved two projects to move electrical lines underground in two high-traffic areas within Green Cove Springs. The overhead electric line crossing Governors Creek at US 17 will be buried underground. The project design for these underground lines will be done by PowerServices. Seventy-Five percent ($94,500.00) of the project will be funded through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, provided through funds made available from Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, with the remaining 25 percent paid from the Electric Department fund. Once the designing and engineering portion of the project is completed, FEMA will re-evaluate the project to fund 75 percent of the construction costs through the grant.

The second project is burying electrical lines on CR-15A, where the First Coast Expressway will be built. These lines will be buried within the limits of the Expressway’s new right of way. PowerServices will also design this project. The cost of the project will be reimbursed by the FDOT.

City Manager Steve Kennedy proposed a pilot program for the city to switch to a fuse sacrifice system for Circuit 2 which is out of the Southside Substation of the City’s electrical system. The city is currently on a fuse save system, which impacts the entire circuit when a fault is detected. The fuse sacrifice approach will only shut down power to those on the line that the fuse is controlling to when a fault occurs. Kennedy said that this system will better pinpoint the origin of power outages for crews, and outages will affect fewer homes in the area when one happens. Once frequent causes of outages in the area are eliminated, the circuit will switch back to a fuse save system. The City Council passed an emergency resolution for the pilot program, with requests for monthly reports on the program’s progress. More information will be released to citizens as details on this pilot program are finalized.

Also at Kennedy’s proposal, City Council recommended to stop the sale of the city’s old fire station and to look into restructuring The Development Services office. Kennedy said that the building holds several antique emergency service vehicles and items for annual City and Police Department events that the City doesn’t have room for elsewhere if the property is sold. Kennedy also explained that restructuring of Development Services will make the City poised for future development and annexation with the opening of the First Coast Expressway.

Additional items passed include approving minutes from Aug. 14 and Aug. 21 Council Budget meetings and Aug. 21 and Sept. 4 City Council meetings, replacing the carpet of the first and second floor of the city hall lobby, approving the report for legal services for the Spring Park Project and Legal Report for Annexation, approving the Unaudited FY 2018 Revenues and Expenditures Report and the Quarterly Investment Report for the period ending on Sept. 30, 2018, approving the inclusion of LED lights in the City’s inventory as part of the standard for City streetlights, and approving amendments in the general fund, disaster fund, electric fund, water fund, wastewater fund, reclaimed water fund, and the special revenue building department fund operating budget for FY 2018.  

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