History of the palm bay utilities department
In 1960, the City of Palm Bay was incorporated and General Development Utilities, Inc. (GDU), a private developer related utility provider, was granted a franchise for a period of 30 years to provide water and wastewater services to areas inside the City’s corporate limits.
The City of Palm Bay grew rapidly in the 1980’s, and such growth brought several challenges for the City. General Development Corporation filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. After litigation, the City acquired the General Development Utilities-Port Malabar Water and Sewer System, which is now known as the Palm Bay Utilities Department.
On December 16, 1992, the City of Palm Bay purchased the General Development Utility System for $31.9 million. The department as a Utility Enterprise Fund operates directly under the City government with management and administration provided through City staff. As such, the Enterprise is responsible for generating the revenues necessary to fund its activities and to pay debt.
For years the utility growth characteristics were controlled by the private utility with little respect to the City’s Comprehensive Plan. A local government’s control over the utility expansion services plays a major role in effective long-range land use planning, and brings the City into concurrence with State requirements for providing water and sanitary sewer service throughout the City. Therefore, the purchase of this facility has proven to be one of the City’s greatest assets. With the City’s acquisition in place, the utility embarked on an aggressive infrastructure improvement plan.
The Palm Bay Utilities Department most recently completed construction of its South Regional Utilities Campus in the far southeastern section of the Bayside Lakes Development. Water production at this facility began on November 9, 2006. The project included the construction of a reverse osmosis treatment plant, a two-million gallon water storage tank and a new administrative building.
Since the City purchased the system from GDU, the number of retail water utilities customers has grown from 17,134 to 28,879, and the number of wastewater customers has increased from approximately 8,389 to 13,783. The City of Palm Bay’s Utilities Department has successfully completed various water and wastewater expansion projects throughout the City since its inception. Accessibility to the City’s water and sewer systems has been provided for numerous areas throughout Units 7, 9 and 13. In 2006, the Utilities Department completed 30,000 linear feet of water main line extension projects throughout various areas of the City.
HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM 1992 – PRESENT