The BOCC has denied the Pluris request
to renew for ten years. This now means the County will go into
proceedings with Pluris to purchase this franchise. This is great news
for us and relief is on the way, although it could take a few more
Eight on your side Pluris coverage
Previous Pluris News reports:BayNews9 Story
A post from our neighbors in East Lake Park
received $8 million in stimulus money from the Fed in 2009, the same
year they bought our utility! Did our tax dollars open the door for
Pluris to buy our utility, only to later leverage the utility and raise
our rates? Is it a coincidence that soon thereafter, all of the
principals of Pluris relocated from California to posh office space in
Dallas? Did you know that Pluris principals drive opulent company
vehicles and live in large homes in Texas?
you know that East Lake Park residents have paid in millions of dollars
in property taxes over the past 55 years, only to see all county
residents but us benefit from tax payer funded multi-million utility infrastructure improvements?
Have you had enough?
have paid our dues and then some: years of outrageously high water
bills, sub-standard service, dirty brown, sometimes acidic water, waste
water bills almost 3 times higher than county residents, collapsing
sewer pipes = collapsing streets & sidewalks, hundreds of gallons of
raw sewage backing up into our homes, and thousands of gallons of raw
sewage into our lake.
Will our Commissioners give Pluris another 10 year franchise agreement? Show up on December 4 at 2 PM and tell the Commissioners NO!
Contact info for the new Franchise Coordinator |
Gerard Watson | Contracts Manager / Franchise Coordinator | Contract Administration & Assistance Group Public Utilities Department | p: 813.612.7744 | f: 813.635-7387 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org
The BOCC meeting for the Pluris Franchise renewal has been postponed. Our neighbor from East Lake Park, Hal Hart, contacted the County Lawyer regarding the amount of notice we received. Apparently, they must provide 20 days notice before scheduling this meeting.
This is a temporary win for us but it will not last long I'm sure. This will give us a little more time to petition the County to buy out Pluris or at the very least, deny this renewal. The County has a little more money now due to the trash contract they just signed.
Notice of proposed Franchise Renewal:
The final public hearing will be conducted by the BOCC on 2/20/13 at 2PM. Please make ever effort to be there and have your voice heard.
11/16/12 - Pluris rate increase:
By now, all of you received the message that our water rates are going up. This was the rate increase that the BOCC denied but Pluris sued to get the rate increase. I know I'm not the only upset with the lack of notification or even a chance hear the BOCC deliberations. Looks like it's time to start questioning the County's franchise coordinator's job. I've linked an email from Hal Hart, a resident of East Lake Park, regarding this issue and Sharon's job performance.
8/1/12 - Here are the transcripts from the Pluris renewal hearing and the County's assessment on taking over.
County Assessment Transcript
7/28/12 - Pluris sued the BOCC regarding the denial of the rate increase last October. The court agreed with Pluris and quashed the order. Expect even higher water bills now. Here's the case: 11-CA-014298
7/28/12 - From East Lake Park
resident has asked how our rates compare to county and city residents’
rates, as well as other information that might be helpful in writing a letter
to the Public Service Commission and the BBB.
Facts you should know:
1.Our waste water
rates are at least 263% higher than the rate County residents pay, and 109%
higher than City residents pay. Our Sewer Base charge is 40% higher than
2.The City of
Tampa, who treats/processes our waste water charges Pluris 25% more than they
charge their residential customers in the City. This does not make any
sense as the City of Tampa does not maintain our waste water lines or even bill
the individual residents. But there is no incentive for Pluris to
re-negotiate this rate because they can just pass this on to us. Jim
Roberts, with the County, commented to me that this higher rate may have made
sense 40 years ago but not today.
3.For every 1
gallon of fresh water used by a residence, the typical output of waste water
(sewage) is .8 gallons. For every 1 gallon of fresh water used, we
produce 1.25 gallons of waste water. What this means is we are producing
45% more sewage than the norm. Bottom line: our 50+ year old vitreous
clay pipes are failing, allowing ground water to enter the pipes.
has resulted in the following:
our waste water is lifted to the City of Tampa for processing/treatment, Pluris
is charged for this extra volume of waste water and that increased rate is passed
on to us. This is one of the reasons our sewer rates are so high.
According to a study done last year by Lorne Hunsberger (a professional who
reviewed the rate increase petition last year) the cost to process our waste
water for the year 2008 was $92,687. For the year 2010, after Pluris took
over sometime in 2009, the cost increased to $471,571. Part of this results
from increased rates from the City, but that does not justify such a dramatic
water is leaking into our waste water pipes, sewage is also leaking out. This
may have resulted in pollution of our ground water, the aquifer and our lake. In
other words human feces/sewer water may be contributing to the pollution in our
lake. In 1997 our fecal coliform count was 700 bacterial colonies per 100 ml of
water. By 2009 the fecal coliform levels had spiked to 13,000/100ml.
The acceptable safe level is between 800/100ml and 1200/100ml. Wildlife,
pet and livestock feces are contributing factors, but those populations have
remained pretty much the same or have been reduced during that time period. In addition,
the number of septic tanks in our Watershed has also been reduced. I
therefore think that a major contributor to our high fecal coliform levels are
our failing 50+ year old vitreous clay waste water/sewer lines.
quality of water in East Lake impacts the entire County. Because East
Lake flows into the Bypass Canal and Hillsborough River, this water must be
treated because it becomes part of our surface drinking water resources. The
more polluted, the more it costs to treat the water.
4.Pluris has a
history of poor customer service, and poor water quality. Everything from
brown smelly water to overcharging or wrongfully charging late fees.
above issues may not include your particular issue. But the bottom line
is we do not want Pluris around for another 10 years! REMEMBER, NUMBERS
MATTERS. Please encourage your neighbors to get involved and write that
you have additional information that may be helpful to your neighbors, please
let me know and I will pass it on.
7/28/12 A letter from East Lake Park:
Not so long ago our community made a difference. We stood
against a politically influential adversary, raised our voices and were
heard. Our County Commission has come to understand that we, as a
community, are a force to be reckoned with. That time has come again.
Lisa Jimenez, an ELP resident, as well as another ELP resident, has
recently suggested that we write letters regarding our dissatisfaction with
Pluris to the Public Service Commission. The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) regulates the electric,
natural gas, water and wastewater, and telecommunications industries in the
state. I AGREE. You may visit their website at: http://www.psc.state.fl.us/
Please send your letters regarding service complaints, water
quality, etc to
Florida Public Service
2540 Shumard Oak Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0850
You should also send a letter of complaint to the Better Business
Bureau of West Florida. This can be done online at: http://westflorida.bbb.org/
Remember, numbers matter. So please encourage all of your
neighbors to join our letter writing campaign.
7/24/12 - Just returned from the Pluris Franchise renewal hearing. As expected, we had many citizens attend to tell of the billing atrocities and high rates charged by Pluris. The hearing officer heard our concerns and asked several questions. The County staff, County lawyer, and Pluris' own lawyer made every effort to assure him that ten more years of Pluris running our water system is the best thing for us. I'm hopeful, that he will present a fair and balanced assessment to the BOCC based on ALL of the information presented. It feels like the consumer is somehow left out of this process.
By the way, Sharon Rohrer (email@example.com) reported in this meeting that all of the complaints from us to Pluris have been satisfactorily resolved. She is the County's franchise coordinator; obviously, she hasn't heard from you. You may want to send her an email with your Pluris complaints so that she may have a better understanding of our plight.
A new committee has been created to focus on Pluris and to search for consumer relief regarding their billing practices and prices.
The committee members are Chris Ingle, Myrna (Pat) Shinpaugh, Paul Anctil, Tiffany Kindt.
Pluris came to the BOCC meeting with hat in hand wanting it's ~950 customers to pay even more than the increased amount already charged. Thankfully, the BOCC fought for the people and denied their request. http://www.baynews9.com/article/news/2011/october/333146/Heated-public-hearing-over-water-rate-hike-in-eastern-Hillsborough-County
Pluris may not stop here. The unfortunate customers of Pluris will need to stay vigilant and active with their county commissioners.
By the way, if you need to escalate Pluris issues you can contact:
Maurice Gallarda - manager
2100 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75201