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Reclaimed Water Mediation Delayed Again

Friday, November, 8, 2019

The upcoming mediation scheduled between the town and the city of Vero Beach regarding the cost of reclaimed water has been postponed again.


Indian River Shores Attorney Louis B. “Buck” Vocelle put the Vero Beach and Mayor Val Zudans on notice in May of this year and told them that reclaimed-water prices needed to be reduced within 90 days. The result, if the cost was not lowered, would be the scheduling of the mediation session to determine why the city is not complying with the utility franchise agreement it signed in 2012.


In that agreement, Vero’s price for reclaimed water must be the same as what Indian River County charges.


The mediation was scheduled for September, but was later postponed due to Hurricane Dorian preparations. The makeup date was scheduled for the end of October, but was against postponed because Vocelle was unable to make the meeting.


According to the agreement, the reclaimed water Vero Beach sells to Indian River Shores must be at the same cost as the county’s price under the agreement. The water is used for irrigating golf courses and other landscaping.


Despite the county lowering its rate on March 1 — from 67 cents per 1,000 gallon to 21 cents per gallon — Vero Beach continued to charge the same rate.


According to Indian Rivers officials, that difference totals to more than $260,000 a year. Vero claims the reclaimed water for the Shores is different because it is pressurized and that is its justification for charging more.


No new date has been scheduled for mediation yet.