St. Johns County reduces water and wastewater rates

Published on June 21, 2023 at 1:46 pm

St. Johns County residents can look forward to lower rates for water and wastewater.

Rates will fall an average of 3% beginning in July — or about $2.50 per month for most customers, after action by county commissioners Tuesday.

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“We have experienced substantial growth, an increased customer base, and have recognized the economies of scale for a more efficient cost of operations,” utility director Colin Groff said in a news release. “So we have this wonderful opportunity to lower our usage rates.”

The utility department acquired two private utilities in 2006 and 2007 that served the Ponte Vedra area, but kept their rates intact. Then in 2022, county commissioners approved the creation of one consolidated utility to ensure long-term financial viability, county officials said.

The monthly bill for St. Johns County residents using an average of 5,000 gallons of water and wastewater was $73.15, according to the utility department’s 2022 annual report. Customers in the Ponte Vedra System averaged $73.65.

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That compared to an average of $73.10 for JEA customers for the 2021-2022 billing cycle and $86.19 for those served by the city of St. Augustine, the report said.

Rates in the Ponte Vedra area will be modified to match those of the county utility system, utility officials said. But residential customers in the Ponte Vedra area who use above-average amounts of water — 20,000 gallons or more in their home and outdoor irrigation — could see larger bills unless they implement recommended irrigation schedules. The average St. Johns County residential customer uses 9,000 gallons per month, the utility said.

“In addition to multiple public outreach meetings in the Ponte Vedra area, our utility department staff will continue to offer residential customers assistance in best management practices,” Groff said. “One of our goals is ensuring the St. Johns County community is a good steward of our water resources.”

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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