An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

St. Petersburg City Council postpones Kriseman's $6.5 million BP settlement

At a tense meeting Thursday, City Council members refused to back Mayor Rick Kriseman's plans for $6.5 million in BP settlement money.

Instead, they focused on the city's stressed sewage system, which led to discharges of more than 30 million gallons of wastewater in early August. The consensus was that most of the money from the settlement should go to repair the system, rather than the mayor's projects, which include an arts endowment and a bike share program.

The joint meeting of two council committees passed a motion asking for an expanded study to learn what it would cost to improve the sewer system and to help determine its cost to taxpayers. Council member Karl Nurse estimated a fix could add about $3.50 a month to residents' water bills. He said Penny for Pinellas funds and the BP money also could be used for the multimillion-dollar project.

The study should be complete by January, at which time council members will decide how to allocate the BP money.

Nurse said the city has "serious deferred maintenance on our sewer system, and we need to piece together at least $15 million more in the next five years."

Jim Kennedy, chairman of the Budget, Finance and Taxation Committee, called it "scary" that the city is $15 million short of what is budgeted for repairs over the next five years.