Potable Water project update

Jeff Cutler, Councilmember, Village of Pinecrest
Jeff Cutler, Councilmember, Village of Pinecrest

When the Potable Water project began, approximately 1,500 homes in the Village had no access to county water, relying on well systems for potable water. Using money initially provided by Miami-Dade County Water & Sewer Department and later obtained from the State of Florida, and not taxes on business or resident real property, the Village has introduced access to county water to approximately 500 homes.

Access in this context does not mean a homeowner must “hook up” right away. We were able to obtain Village residents a 10-year moratorium from the date of access, with some exceptions, before the county can require hookup to its water system.

One of the reasons I was in favor of the Village Water Project was that I thought it was important to place “backbone” water lines in the areas that had no access to potable water in our best effort to be able to expedite deployment of water lines to homes that may have water wells become contaminated in the future. We accom-plished this and also added fire hydrants where none existed before.

Obviously, it would be much better for everyone in the Village (or in the county, for that matter) to have access to county water and the fire hydrants that accompany them. Well water contamination remains a serious concern and some Village residents have recently found arsenic in their water. When our area was once agricultural, the poison arsenic was apparently used as a pesticide. The only way to know if you have contamination in your well is to test it, and proper testing must be regular and can be expensive. There is also the continuing risk of salt water intrusion given our community’s proximity to Biscayne Bay.

The money provided by the county was a one-time payment and the State of Florida has discontinued funding water projects, like ours, because of the severity of the state’s present economic condition. We still may have a chance for federal funding. The Village’s request for $5 million to expand our water project was made by our U.S. Senator Bill Nelson under the State and Tribal Assistance Grant, which supports these types of activities. The bill has yet to be considered by the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, but action is expected on this bill before Congress adjourns for the summer recess.

Whether funding is county, state or federal, it is our tax money and we should try to have it allocated back to us. Even if you were one of the fortunate residents to have already been added to county water access, you can help. Please also feel free to forward this email to those interested.

I have been advised by the Village’s federal lobbyist to have callers convey the following comment to Sen. Nelson at 202-224-5274:

Hello, my name is  _____ and I am calling to strongly urge Sen. Nelson to ask his colleagues on the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee to include funding for the Village of Pinecrest Waterline Expansion so that we can address a severe public safety and health hazard in our community. Thank you!

I may be contacted via email at JCutler@pinecrest-fl.gov or by calling 305-234-2121.

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