By Steve Plunkett

With Gulf Stream officials saying they’re close to a deal to get water from Boynton Beach, its longtime supplier Delray Beach has issued a drop-dead date — June 17, 2025 — to get off its system.

Gulf Stream and Boynton Beach elected officials have not approved — or even seen — a proposed contract yet, and connecting the municipalities’ water pipes could take a year or more.

Nevertheless, on April 24, Delray Beach City Manager Terrence Moore sent Gulf Stream a “Notification” by certified mail that the relationship will end next year.

“The town has been on formal notice of the city’s intention not to renew the agreement since May of 2022, if not before. Despite the city’s repeated forewarnings to the town, the town has refused to acknowledge the city’s position and has intentionally failed to take action on behalf of its residents,” Moore said in the letter to Gulf Stream Town Manager Greg Dunham.

Moore alerted Delray Beach city commissioners to his stance in his April 26 weekly update to them, adding that “current and long-term water utility operational functions do not support service delivery to other municipalities.”

With the city starting to design a new water plant, he said, “future accompanying infrastructure and water resources need to likewise support current and future demand solely for the Delray Beach corporate limits.”

Gulf Stream officials did not anticipate Moore’s message.

“It was surprising and inconsistent with the conversations that we’ve had,” Assistant Town Attorney Trey Nazzaro said.

As recently as April 12, Nazzaro had told town commissioners that it looked like the town would renew its 25-year water agreement with Delray Beach. But Dunham and Nazzaro continued to negotiate with Boynton Beach and on April 18 Dunham told Moore that the town planned to switch.

“We’re right on the precipice” of reaching a deal with Boynton Beach, Nazzaro said.

In an interview, Moore said that Delray Beach had “graciously” supplied water for the past two years despite not having an agreement with Gulf Stream.

“I’m very gracious … with everybody, including them,” he said.

But it will take at least 12 months after an agreement with Boynton Beach is signed for new pipes to be installed from Seacrest Boulevard to a Gulf Stream transfer point at the Federal Highway entrance to its Place Au Soleil neighborhood.

“I’m sure we’ll be able to work amicably” with Delray Beach, Nazzaro said.

Gulf Stream would have to pay $2 million for the new connection. It is considering getting a loan for that plus additional millions to finance its ongoing road and drainage projects.

The new arrangement should also provide Gulf Stream residents with better water pressure because the Boynton Beach water plant is closer to the connection point, Nazzaro said.

Moore said Delray Beach anticipates growing by 7,000 more residents, whose water payments will more than offset the money it receives from Gulf Stream’s 660 or so households.

“That’s not a concern,” he said.

Delray Beach has supplied Gulf Stream with water at least since 1976. It also provides fire rescue services for the town and until August 2022 handled its building permits.

Dunham said the first meeting with Moore on the water contract was in August 2022 and that Gulf Stream asked if the city would consider offering a rate less than the 25% surcharge it was collecting. The surcharge is the highest the state allows providers to charge nonresidents.

“The city said the renewal would be at a 25% premium, and encouraged the town to seek a better rate from other water providers,” he said. “It was only at the Delray Beach city manager’s direction that the town started talking with the city of Boynton Beach and its utility department.”

At the April 12 Gulf Stream Town Commission meeting, Nazzaro said Delray Beach is charging the town $3.81 per thousand gallons of water.

“But next year it’ll jump to $4.49 and then the following year to $5.20. So there are some significant jumps because they’re trying to finance the water plant,” he said.

Boynton Beach was talking about a starting rate of $3.75 per 1,000 gallons, Nazzaro said, with increases possible as it improves its infrastructure. That rate would also include the 25% maximum surcharge.

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