The Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday gave the go-ahead to spend billions of dollars to overhaul the county's sewer system, avoiding more delays and possibly millions in fines, and prompting a raise in monthly water and sewer rates to pay for it.
With only one commissioner voting no, the board finally approved spending more than a billion dollars to re-do Miami-Dade's old and increasingly failing sewer pipes, and fix violations of the federal Clean Water Act.
"We can take political position that are nice but if they can come back and they assess us for $37,000 a day for non-compliance, it's going to be a lot more," said Commission Chair Rebeca Sosa.
The funding approved includes $1.6 billion for upgrades and repairs, $15 million for maintenance, and another $1.8 million in federal fines and federally-mandated oversight.
To cover the bonding, commissioners expect to raise water and sewer bills about $4 a month to the average water bill
"The public is the one that has to carry the burden," said Sosa, "and the public needs to know where the money's going to go."
Commissioner Diaz, concerned about higher increases in years to come, has asked Mayor Carlos Gimenez to present a full version of a detailed plan at a future commission meeting.