Vero not budging on reuse water rates for the Shores

News Analysis — In one of his first official duties after being selected Vero Beach city manager by a unanimous vote of the City Council, Monte Falls politely rebuffed Indian River Shores’ demand for lower reuse water rates.

Falls’ letter said nothing the Shores hadn’t already been told by former city manager Jim O’Connor and Vero water-sewer director Rob Bolton. His May 10 letter just says “no” to the demand for lower rates in a more nicely worded fashion, emphasizing how the City of Vero Beach “has every desire to fulfill the letter of our franchise agreement and maintain good relations with the town.”

Like O’Connor, Falls is waiting for the results of a rate study unilaterally commissioned by the city to determine what to charge the Shores for reuse water.

This new Vero rate study, the city says, is designed to determine Vero’s cost of bringing reuse water to the Shores, but the Shores says that information is immaterial because the water agreement between the city and the town says the city will match county reuse water rates.

Indian River County Utilities on March 1 lowered county rates from 67 cents per 1,000 gallons to 21 cents per 1,000 gallons.

The difference between the 67 cents and the 21 cents amounts to more than a quarter-million dollars a year, which will either go to Vero utilities or stay in the Shores.

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