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Belleair Drinking Water Unsafe

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Last updated on December 16, 2023

Belleair drinking water has unsafe levels of trihalomethanes

Aware of Belleair’s drinking had prohibited levels of trihalomethanes, with direct links to certain cancers. In 2011, Mayor Gary Katica weighed in on the issue, saying he was born in 1934 and grew up with a mouthful of fillings. However, he said, in later years, after cities began adding fluoride, he no longer was plagued by cavities. “We don’t learn this stuff in mayors’ school,” he joked. Unlike our water, this attitude regarding Belleair’s drinking water filtered down to city managers and dozens of town boards members and commissioners hand-picked by Katica.

The first record available regarding Belleair’s water was in 2006 when Town Manager Cottrell presented his “comprehensive evaluation plan” about water supply, potable quantity, and alternative water supply sources to Belleair officials. Mayor Katica fired Cottrell.

In 2008, Belleair was awarded the Best Tasting Water in a seven-county taste-off contest.

In 2009, Town Commissioners by a 5-0 vote. Supposedly, water rates were raised by 5 percent to protect the town’s water supply. Town Manager Micah Maxwell said, “The increase is intended to cover increased fuel costs for water delivery.” While in 2009, fuel costs were at a four-year low.

Belleair residents (2009) got the news that their drinking water had unsafe levels of trihalomethanes, a disinfection byproduct. A health risk that can damage the liver, kidney, and central nervous system and an increased risk of cancer.

Maxwell (2011), after hiring specialists costing $102,000, told the mayor and town commissioners that he wanted to “raise the drinking water issue so they would be aware of it.” He added, “We have no worries legally for the next ten years,” But after that, we may not meet the required standards.”
In 2012, reported that Belleair’s water had one contaminant above legal limits and two contaminants above health guidelines.

As Katica’s $500,000 roundabout was underway. Belleair faced a $300,000 deficit in operating its water system every year. So, in 2013, Murphy, then Belleair’s Finance Director, planned to stop the bleeding. How else, by increasing our water bills, the Commissioners unanimously agreed to a new rate structure. Making residents pay more for water in violation of drinking water standards.

In 2015, JP Murphy, Assistant Town Manager, detailed the options available for the Belleair Water Utility. The first option is selling the system to Pinellas County; Mr. Richard Cristini provided comments and board discussions ensued regarding financial and customer impacts.

The second option is improving the water treatment plant and purchasing a reverse osmosis system. A Cardno engineering report detailing costs was discussed.

Chairman Olson suggested moving the water discussion to the June meeting so all members would be present. June 2015 town records only reference to water was Town Manager Maxwell stating an additional net increase of $35,000 to project for a water line from Indian Rocks Road to Rosery

Belleair town business takes backseat to Pelican Golf Club.

Meanwhile from 2016 to 2019, Belleair town business took a backseat to selling the now Pelican Golf Club.
This became clear when Belleair commissioners approved engineering services for$65,000 current water mains and payment of $170,868 for improvements to Indian Rocks Road, Town Manager Murphy commented with the improvements, “We now have a safe way for pedestrians use the path and best of all saying, “folks to get to both golf courses on sidewalks.”

December of 2019, Commissioner Shelly commented on the importance of understanding the distribution system and moved approval of the Potable Water System Hydraulic Modeling, Phase II by McKim & Creed for $63,554.00.

Commissioner Shelly moved Approval of the RO Water Plant Preliminary Engineering Report, Phase II by McKim & Creed to $324,223. Commissioner Wilkinson seconded it.

The 2023 changeover includes the installation of two new interconnectors at an estimated cost of $150,000.
Their decades-long lack of action had residents drinking prohibited levels of trihalomethanes, with direct links to certain cancers.

It seems the only difference between policymakers and pickpockets. Pickpockets steal your money, then run policymakers run, and then steal your money.

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