Hollywood needs a new payment plan for its septic to sewer program. Under Florida law, a city cannot charge an all encompassing users fee if requested infrastructure improvements only benefit a certain group of people.
“We are looking for other funding sources without assessing customers for improvements to abandon their septic tanks and hook up to a new sewer system,” said Joann Hussey, spokesperson for Hollywood.
About 16,850 of Hollywood residential properties are on septic tanks. During a recent workshop, the commission directed city staff to develop a ten year program aimed at converting residential properties from septic to sewer. It was estimated this would cost approximately $710 million.
Some options to pay for this project may include an initial conversion fee for new customers. A typical Hollywood resident would have to play between $6,000 to $7,000 for this process.
Other options include applying for various grants, or for the city to pay for the conversions from its budget.
Commissioner Kevin Biederman said it’s important to find a way to move residents who are on septic tanks to sewers because the Florida legislature might make septic tanks illegal. “We have to replace aging infrastructure in the city and find a way to fund the septic to sewer conversion. We’re trying to get grant money from the federal government, the state and the county.”
Mayor Josh Levy said the city must find grant money to pay for the septic to sewer conversion. “The state has loan funds and grants to help cities do septic to sewer conversions. We need to get some grant money over the next few months,” said Levy.
He said that Governor Ron DeSantis believes it’s important for cities to convert from septic to sewer. This might make it more likely for Hollywood to gain financial support for the project.