Following a fiery two-year battle, residents of Belleair Beach and Belleair Shore finally received their sewage refunds.
Sewage customers of these two communities were drastically overcharged between March and September of 2003 when Belleair Beach upped the price of sewage so much that the Belleair Shore government could no longer afford to pay the sewage fees and the fees fell onto individual residents.
When the amount of the refunds came out, the Belleair Shore commission was not happy. They claimed that the refund amount that Belleair Beach had come up with was half of what it should be, and that bad seven letter phrase "law suit" was thrown around like wild fire. But it seems now that the fire has dwindled and both cities are satisfied with the refunds.
Belleair Beach Mayor Rudy Davis and Belleair Shore Mayor John Robertson worked on the methodology of the refunds together and reached an agreement. Then their methodology was approved by both city councils.
In September of 2004, Belleair Beach refunded a total of $37,370.47 to Belleair Beach sewage customers. Since this amount did not refund the full amount that these residents were overcharged, and nothing was refunded to Belleair Shore residents, there was a definite need for more refunds to be sent out.
It was not until December of 2005 that a total refund amount of $25,787.15 was sent to Belleair Beach residents and a total of $25,263.68 was sent to Belleair Shore residents. This brought the total amount of refunds sent out over the two years to a whopping $84,421. The amounts of the some 500 individual refunds ranged from the largest refund of $1,570 to the smallest refund of a mere $2.06.
Residents of these two communities haven't said much about their recent refunds. Maybe they are just content to get any sort of reimbursement or maybe they are just tired of this issue. Either way things have stayed relatively calm on these two beaches since the refunds were sent. City Manager Reid Silverboard said he has only received a few phone calls regarding this issue, and residents "were neither happy nor unhappy just curious about the methodology used to get the amounts."
Silverboard was pleased with the outcome of the refunds and said that this should "put this issue to bed."
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