Flowery Branch water and sewer customers could see a 4 percent hike in rates effective Jan. 1, according to proposed rates that will be considered by City Council on Thursday.
“The current water-sewer capital infrastructure needs are increasing as our city continues to grow,” states a city document related to the proposal.
The South Hall city needs to develop a capital improvements plan to comply with Georgia Environmental Protection Division regulations “and to meet the demands of our growing city,” the document says.
“The need for these rate changes is an important contribution to this plan.”
Flowery Branch City Council meeting
What: Proposed resolution on city water and sewer rates
When: 6 p.m. ThursdayWhere: City Hall, 5517 Main St.
Flowery Branch’s rates cover customers both inside and outside the city.
Under the proposed rates, customers are charged based on various levels of usage and categorized as either single-family, multifamily or nonresidential, such as businesses. Customers outside the city typically pay higher rates.
For example, the lowest water charge for a single-family customer inside the city would be $6.45 for up to 1,000 gallons. The same type of user outside the city would be charged $8.59.
Current rates are $6.20 for up to 1,000 gallons for a single-family customer inside the city and $8.26 for the same type of user outside the city.
Earlier this year, Athens-based Nelsnick Enterprises, a consultant hired by the city to study water and sewer rates, recommended a 7 percent rate hike to maintain and expand the South Hall city’s systems.
Council members responded by asking staff “to go back for a lower number,” City Manager Bill Andrew said.
Nelsnick’s report said that existing infrastructure needs replacement and that system expansions and extensions are “most likely needed.”
The firm “has found (that) the utility is currently not providing sufficient system revenues to recover costs,” the report states. “The result is a depletion of reserves to balance the budget.”
The good news, Andrew has said, is “I’ve been told is our infrastructure is a little bit above average for cities of our size.
“But there is always work that needs to be done. And just because it’s above average doesn’t mean it’s where we want it to be.”
The last rate adjustment took place in August 2014.