Hillsborough residents claim water company retaliates against th - WNCN: News, Weather

Hillsborough residents claim water company retaliates against them

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East Lake residents fed up with stinky, cloudy water won a big battle against their utility company in December. The Hillsborough County Commission voted against renewing the company's franchise agreement.

That means that, eventually, Pluris American Infrastructure, will have to sell the utility and move out of the Tampa neighborhood, near the Hard Rock Casino.

But getting rid of Pluris isn't easy. Hillsborough County is negotiating with Pluris to buy the utility and operate it itself. So far, though, Pluris won't accept the county's offer. Meanwhile, residents say Pluris is retaliating against them.

"The bills aren't going down, they're going up," said Tina Vuylsteke said. "We've tried to not use a lot of water and try to save the water but the bills are still going up high."

Bills continue to rise, improvements to the aging utility stalled, and residents complain of charges of $10 for certified letters that cost the utility just $3.78 to send.

Martha Steakley is furious about her monthly bill of over $200. She says she's happy the county finally gave Pluris the boot, but she want them gone soon.

County officials are at a standstill and say if they don't reach an agreement with Pluris soon, they'll sue. It may take a judge to force Pluris to sell.

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