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County delays action on South Hall sewer rates
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners discussed South Hall sewer rates at Monday’s work session, but decided to wait until January to take action.

At the request of Commissioner Bobby Banks, Public Works Director Ken Rearden presented the commissioners with a summary of rate studies that have been conducted over the last two years for the customers of the Spout Springs Water Reclamation Facility.

Several residents from the communities of Sterling on the Lake, Reunion and the Village at Deaton Creek attended the work session to show their frustration that there is still no solution to the high sewer rates.

Currently, customers pay a flat monthly fee of $42 per month. The rate was inherited when Hall County purchased the sewage plant from John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods.

Rearden went over several different rate structures that have been proposed in the past.

One rate structure would be based purely on usage. Another would place a cap on charges and another would strike a compromise by charging a base rate for a portion of the bill and the remainder would be based on usage.

"The lower users, they don’t want a cutoff. They want the high volume users to pay so it keeps their bills lower," Rearden said. "The high volume users want a cutoff where their bills would be lower. We’ve got to strike a compromise."

One of the main criticisms of past proposals is that outdoor watering is included in the sewer bill and could cause users’ bills to spike dramatically during summer months.

"It’s not right that we pay more just because we water our lawns," said Ed Asbridge, a Sterling on the Lake resident, at Monday’s work session. "The only thing that’s going to be fair is a cap."

Rearden said he will be working with a consultant to come up with another option at the beginning of the year.

"Once (Commissioner-elect) Craig Lutz takes office, we’ll meet with him and see what his goals are to try to get this rate structure to a compromise," Rearden said.

Rearden said it is very important for the county to find a new rate structure because the flat fee of $42 per month is not adequate to pay the long term costs of the system.

"We’re not cutting the mustard right now. We need to get some more revenue into this sewer system," Rearden said.

Commissioner Bobby Banks, who represents the South Hall district, requested the sewer rates be brought up during the final meetings before he leaves office.

He said even though he would not act on it, he wanted to make sure the issue, which has spanned two years, is resolved soon.

"It’s been going on long enough and something needs to be done," Banks said. "I wanted to make sure it was brought up and that it wasn’t forgotten about. We got a lot more issues in South Hall than the North Hall library."

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