Countys Water And Sewer Bill 20 Billion
A flood of spending vital to carry Miami-Dade’s water and sewer system for the next two decades crested last week when commissioners were told the county is looking at a $20 billion bill.
That’s $12 billion to repair and replace infrastructure and $8.7 billion for other water and sewer needs inside the urban development boundary, John Renfrow, Water and Sewer Department director, told commissioners.
Of the total, just $1.6 billion is covered in a consent decree the county has entered into with the federal government to meet minimum requirements, he said.
The $20 billion is just for existing service, he said in answer to questions. It doesn’t include providing sewers in parts of four commission districts that still aren’t on the sewerage system.
It’s important for economic development that those areas also receive service, said Commissioner Jean Monestime. He said 36,000 cars a day go along areas of Northwest Seventh Avenue but that area cannot take advantage of the traffic with new businesses because it lacks sewers.
Commissioner Dennis Moss asked how other cities have filled such massive water and sewer gaps.
New water and sewer facilities, Mr. Renfrow said, have historically been financed here by special taxing districts, general obligation bonds or developers of major projects who build the infrastructure and donate it to the county.
But, said Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak, it’s up to the commission itself to decide how to finance needed upgrades and new service. She said the commission has multiple options, though she did not list any.
Mr. Renfrow sent to commissioners a report with 66 individual maps of needed infrastructure. He said the county should create a mechanism to finance the work.
Administrators Tuesday withdrew a request for $4.245 billion in bonds to begin the task. To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.