ST PETE BEACH, Fla. — ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. – St. Pete Beach is seeking at least $12 million from county and state governments to help with sewer system upgrades necessary to keep the city and tourism industry functioning at peak capacity.

"Securing that money will keep us on track,” Mayor Alan Johnson said. 

The city’s sewer problems started long before Johnson became mayor. In 2016, rain from Tropical Storm Colin overloaded the sewer systems and forced sewage to discharge into the Boca Ciega Bay.

Over the last eight years, the city has invested about $10 million into upgrading and maintaining sewer systems, but $12 million more is still needed.

There’s also concern among the local hospitality industry, as a city resolution in 2016 put a hold on expansion and major renovations for hotels and multifamily dwellings.

“We've been on the property for 30 years, so maybe a little renovation would help,” Austin Lapniewski of the Plaza Beach Resort said. “At least having the availability to expand and do renovations would help. I think it would really enrich the tourist experience."

The city will have a budget meeting in April to discuss the financial details of the sewer upgrades. Mayor Johnson said he hopes to have work begin in October. If money is not available from the state or county, the city will consider municipal bonds as another option.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with 10News WTSP. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. You can also email her at emorrow@wtsp.com.


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