Gulfport Council voted to increase garbage and recycling rates 12% in the coming fiscal year. The year begins October 1. This increase should generate an additional $214,000 in revenue for the city.
Council also voted to increase its potable, or drinking, water and sewage rates by the same 12%; this increase is driven by law rather than avarice. Because St. Petersburg sells Gulfport water, Gulfport must, by law, charge its customers at least as much as St. Petersburg charges its customers. In past years, the city subsidized the water and sewage rates to keep its costs lower. St. Petersburg increased its rates by 25%, and Gulfport had no choice but to follow suit. Council divided the increase over two years.
“We’re still at the very lowest compared to most cities,” Vice Mayor Christine Brown said.
Mayor Sam Henderson pointed out that for homes that use less than 5,000 gallons, the increase would be less than one dollar per bill.
“When you hear 12%, I know it sounds frightening,” he said.