REDINGTON SHORES – Suspicions by Town Commissioner Jeff Neal that the town’s sewer bill had been too high have turned out to be true.

Neal said at the Aug. 8 town commission meeting that he had worked with County Commissioner J.J. Beyrouti, a longtime Redington Shores mayor, and Supervisor of Utilities Ken Jordan, who discovered that a bracket on a sewer meter was rusted and broken. That caused a reading of about 4 million gallons in excess of the actual sewer flow.

The county will now check all of the meter readings at the town’s lift stations to see if others are wrong.

“They will then calculate what money we should have coming back, all the way to January,” Neal said.

Neal began having concerns about faulty sewer meter readings in June, when he reported at a town workshop meeting that the sewer bills from the county were “really high.” He said then the sewer flow was being analyzed, and comparisons made into the price charged.

Now that the sewer overcharge has been documented, Neal said he is working with the county on a backup plan for reading the meters, “so we get two separate readings.”

“I’ve got two companies working on that now,” Neal said.

Also, manholes are being redone, and the sewer lines cleaned and relined on 175th Avenue East, Neal said.

The project to reline the sewers will result in an ongoing cost savings to the town. Neal said in June that the town’s sewers had significant water infiltration, causing extra charges of $20,000 to $50,000 a month to process rainwater that has seeped into the system along with the sewage water. The sewer relining project will correct that problem.

“That’s all good news,” Neal said, referring to cost savings from fixing the sewer meters as well as the sewer relining.

Town has ‘a good financial year’

“You had a good year,” auditor Richard Cristini said in a review of the town’s financial condition for the year 2017. Revenues exceeded expenses, leaving a surplus of about $250,000, Cristini said. “You spent less than expected, and collected more than what you thought you would collect.”

He said the outcome of the audit is “what we refer to as a clean opinion,” with all the assets, liabilities, revenues and expenditures fairly stated.

New deputy clerk hired

The commission ratified the hiring of Nicki McCraney as the new deputy town clerk. McCraney is a Redington Shores native.

“I was born and raised here, and I’m extremely excited to be working and serving the town I grew up in,” she said. Her grandfather was a Redington Shores town commissioner, she added, and Town Clerk Mary Palmer said McCraney’s grandmother was a noted local artist.

“We’re very excited to have such a deep rooted person here,” said Mayor Mary Beth Henderson.

Utility undergrounding to begin this fall

The undergrounding of utilities on the east side of Gulf Boulevard should start in October or November, Henderson said. The work has been delayed due to FDOT permitting issues, she said.

All of the Redingtons will be undergrounded, and Henderson said she does not know yet where the work will start.