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Sarasota utility bills may be headed higher, with no end in sight. On Monday, June 9, Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell briefed the city commissioners about the state of the city's water, sewer and reclaimed water systems. Keeping them running is going to cost more. The commissioners heard a broad-rang- i n g b r i e f i n g a b o u t t h e i r 2 7 5 m i l e s o f pipeline and 89 oper- ating lift stations and about best practices for bio-solids man- agement (send the material to Manatee County), emergency response times and "smart" manhole covers. But everything has a bottom line, and for the Utilities Department to make ends meet, it is asking for a 6 percent increase in rates start- ing in October and another 6 percent the following year, fol- lowed by a 4 percent increase for each of the following eight years. The city commission- ers will be asked a City Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell brought this bolt to the 'State of the Utilities' workshop this week to demonstrate the need for action on the pipeline to the city's source of drinking water. This piece of hardware had been holding together a flange for 50 years. It sits on a reporter's notebook for scale. Photo by Stan Zimmerman MORE MONEY FOR WATER WITH AGING INFRASTRUCTURE TO ADDRESS, THE CITY OF SARASOTA IS FACING THE NEED FOR MULTIPLE INCREASES IN CUSTOMER UTILITY BILLS Five days before a [customer] shut-off, we have an employee hang a red tag. We're going to 14,000 houses each year. That's how many red tags we hang a year. Mitt Tidwell Utilities Director City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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