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Bradenton to end snowbirds’ water bill loophole

BRADENTON – Snowbirds in Bradenton will no longer be able to turn off their water while they’re up north and not pay their water bill for those months, the City Council recently decided.

In its May 25 meeting, Lance Williams, the assistant director of the city’s Office of Management and Budget, told the council the unofficial policy costs the city an estimated $200,000 a year.

“Bradenton is the only agency between Tampa and Fort Myers to offer a seasonal nonbilling option,” he said.

Williams said mostly in October, between 500 and 600 seasonal residents arrive and ask for their service to be turned on. In April, they ask for service to be turned off, before leaving for their winter homes.

During the months the water is turned off, the city doesn’t generate a bill for those accounts.

That, Williams said, just isn’t fair. He quoted a recent white paper from the Florida Rural Water Association which said the practice is not recommended. “Each customer should pay their proportional share. It’s not equitable and just,” Williams said.