~.L -. et ors q Tims u. -..
"he pofc ofouir= w is Tif mmwl to tell the truth."
1 -4 1-A THURSDAY, DECEM R 8 1977 -
The water business
J A.-nd jury ought to writthe net dents for $.
Chapter of the intriguing, ras.to-richea Pasco Water Authority Inc. is
story of supplyiig frea water t oome owned by Ge e M. Brown, Wiliam H.
residents of western Pasco County. Boyce, Carl Mileri and Roy Sper, a
The first two installmenthave been c political fr of Raiey.The "a-
-written by St. Petersburg Timer staff thority" owners all direct or own stock in
writer DavidM.Snyder. He unraveled the water-buying utilities. State Rep
Sthe complex string of events that began Ron Richmond, R-New Port Richey, has
several years ago, when rapid develop- represented the "authority" as attorney.
:ment without zoning caused salt water The failure of public agencies to 7
intrusion inthe area. Through a contract supply water to West Pasco, climaxed by
with the Pinellas Conty Commission, the defeat of a waterbond issue in 1976,
water pnpedout of wells in East Pasco created the. need for the "authority."
is piped through Pinellas into West Pas- Oddly, Pickens C. Talley, the Pinellas
co and sold dfor the high priciof $1.50 a water director who proposedthe sale of
\ thousand gallons to residential custom- water tothe "authority," made speeches
ers. In St Petersbinrg a residential us- in Pasco County against the bond issue.
tomer pays 87 cents per 1,000 gallons for Talley, who resigned his county job and
Sthe first 2,000 gallons, then 6 cents One was rehired by Pinellas.as a $45-an-hour
S.water expert said a desalination plant water consultant, also works for Holiday
could supply West Paco water cheaper Lakes Water System Inc., which. is
.than the current price; owned in part by Brown and Minieri
Pinellas County contributed
.THIS HIGH price structure was- $25),000 to the cost of building the
set up in a remarkably neat political "authority's" pipeline. Even though it
package. To wit: was supposed to do so last July, the "au-
-:The Pinellas County-Commis- thority" has not installed a meter on its
sion, on a motion by Commissioner pipeline and Pinellas County has not
Charles Rainey that passed unanimous' forced it to do so.
ly, agreed to sell 10-million gallons of wa- At the urging of many Pasco
-ter a day until Oct. 1, 1978,at 35 cent County residents, referendum is sched-
per 1,000 gallons t a private company uled for Tuesday to decide whether the
set up by West Pasco developers under county should buy out all the privately
the name of Pasco Water Authority Inc owned water and sewer companies in
.The 36-cent price is less than Pinellat' West-Pasco.including the "authority."
cost of buying and pumping the water, -. :
which means Pinellas water customers ALL OF THESE events reported
subsidize the sale to the "autBority." by- Snyder suggest a pattern that begs
S ., The privatecompanyi turn sells fo an officialinquiry.We thk a grand
-the water at70 entifor 1,00ftllonsto. -jury should look carefully into how welt
small private uties which I thrsl- the ptiubic interest hasbeen served. a r
7 .-*- -.
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