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Commission considers options to bring sewer to North Hall
Plan could include switching to variable rate sewer bills
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners is considering its options to bring sewer service to northeast Hall, but part of the plan could change sewer bills for some residents.

At Tuesday’s work session, commissioners waded through options to best provide sewer service to about 40,000 acres along the Ga. 365 corridor, which includes the Gateway Industrial Centre, a planned development that will include the new Georgia Poultry Laboratory.

Also discussed was South Hall’s unprofitable wastewater treatment plant and a proposal changing sewer prices from a flat rate to variable rate.

The board’s three options to service the industrial park include tying into Lula’s sewer system, Gainesville’s system or building its own gravity sewer and package wastewater treatment plant.

The county could tie into Gainesville’s system at White Sulphur Road. Gainesville would provide 1 million peak daily flow gallons a day, with an average flow of 392,000 gallons of wastewater a day, said Ken Rearden, county director of public works and utilities.

The deal would cost slightly more than $5 million, which would be paid with user debt service fees. Gainesville’s new offer includes a promise not to annex in the county’s sewer district.

The Lula option would cost $2.6 million and tie in at Ga. 52.

“It doesn’t matter to me whose sewer district it is,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs said. “It could be Hall County’s; it could be city of Atlanta’s for as far as I’m concerned. If we give them the customer we have nobody to service if we’re ever going to get into sewer. Sewer drives industry. There’s not a major development that will locate that doesn’t have municipal sewer.”

It would cost $3.2 million for the county to build a 3,500-foot gravity sewer and 75,000-gallons-per-day treatment plant. However, this option requires additional capital revenue and the county is still struggling to pay for the $14.5 million wastewater treatment plant in South Hall that it bought in 2008.

County officials hope a change in sewer rates would help with that. The sewer rate proposal would change rates from a monthly flat fee of $42 to a variable amount based on usage. The new rate also includes a $2 customer service charge, a capacity charge of $15 and a fee of $3.50 per ccf. One ccf is equal to 100 cubic feet, or 748 gallons. Residential usage, which is the majority of the county’s 2,100 customers, would be capped at 10 ccf.

The rates would pay for the operational costs and the interest on the South Hall wastewater treatment plant.

Resident Dick Lahr said the board should review the proposed change carefully before approving it. The numbers don’t add up, he said. Resident Phyllis Mercer, who also attended, said the rate penalizes low-volume users.

The sewer issues discussed at the work session are expected to come up again at the commission meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

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