- Published: Monday, 30 September 2019 08:35
On Thursday night September 26th at the Woman’s Club SIPOA sponsored what I literally will call a “watershed” event. Perhaps that word is a little tongue-in-cheek, but the truth is the theme of the event was all about water issues affecting Snell Isle. From the upgrades and renovation of the Lift Station in the Parkway, to flooding and water pooling issues at various locations on the Isle, to increased costs for water/reclaimed water usage and storm water drainage cost increases that are based upon the square footage of impervious structures on resident properties, to flood insurance increases, one may have felt a bit overwhelmed, and underwater, with the vast quantity of information presented to us in a short two hour time period.
In an effort to summarize the most salient points covered, all should be pleased to know that the pump station upgrades will be completed months in advance of the original projected date. If all continues to go as well as it has, the work will be done by year end, which is fantastic news.
With respect to the costs for reclaimed water usage, the increases are not significant on a percentage basis, so no one should become too alarmed. As to the issue of drainage/runoff on a property by property basis, there is a formula based on the square footage of impervious structures as relates to the entire square footage of the property in question, so that the more of such structures, whether your home, driveway, pavers and patios, the more you will be charged. Again, the percentage increases are not significant enough that we should all be up in arms and worry too much about it. Of course, every dollar counts and while I don’t want to make light of any increased costs for anything in general, these won’t break the bank. The City explained that, with these increases, Saint Petersburg is more in line with our neighbors in surrounding cities. For further information on the rate changes, please go to this link StPete.org/ratechanges.
Moving now to the well-known problems of flooding and drainage after storms and high tides, we were informed that the City of St. Petersburg is taking the issue seriously, pipes in some areas are being enlarged while in other areas pipes are being cleaned and leaks are being repaired. Unfortunately, this is a slow and at times difficult process, but it is moving forward. In fact, residents were advised that if they notice an issue in any particular location, the City should be contacted so that specific areas may be addressed. Of course, all must keep in mind that while things can be done to mitigate the effects of too much water, living on an island as we do where summer rainfall can at times be daunting, especially when coupled with high tides, we will all have to continue to live with some flooding in certain areas.
A project is being looked at to consider dredging canals surrounding the Vinoy Golf Course that will enable further drainage of high water, but this potential project has many moving parts and teams. You will hear more about this in the near future.
Ed Montanari, our City Council Representative and Snell Isle resident, spoke briefly to our crowd and answered several questions. He is up for re-election in November.
Last, but not least, Officer Don Herring of SPPD spoke briefly on safety and security issues and reminded us that while crime on Snell Isle is at a low rate, it still exists and we need to be vigilant, lock our cars and homes, keep outdoor lights on at night, and if you see something suspicious please contact SPPD.
Our speakers who came to speak and provided information and who we would like to thank for their input, were as follows: 1) Brejesh Prayman, Engineering & Capital Improvements Director, City of St Pete 2) Carlos Frey, Design Manager, Stormwater and Environmental Engineering and Capital Improvements, City of St Pete 3) Aaron Carmella, City Liason for Utility bill updates 4) Officer Don Herring of SPPD 5) Jake Holehouse, HH Insurance, experts in Flood Insurance and designated by the City as Flood Insurance policyholder advocates (Kayla Roberts & Christian Kaelber were there to answer questions, too) 6) Ed Montanari
By: Howard K. Pollack, Communications Chair