The Flowery Branch City Council voted June 18 to approve the higher rates, which distinguish between customers inside and outside the city and customers whose accounts with the city predate June 2000.
The increase was passed to satisfy the requirements of a five-year bond agreement made in 2004.
In addition, the council redefined the initial allotment for water and sewer customers from 2,500 gallons per month to 4,500 gallons per month.
After water customers’ usage exceeds 4,500 gallons per month, new state-imposed conservation rates will take effect with increased payment for each successive tier of usage.
The new water rates require residents who have lived within city limits before June 2000 to pay $19.90 for the base 4,500 gallons per month allotment, compared to the old rate of $16.58 for 2,500 gallons per month.
Residents who have moved to Flowery Branch since 2000 now will pay $24.89 for 4,500 gallons per month rather than the previous $20.74 for 2,500 gallons per month.
The new sewer rates require residents who have lived within city limits before June 2000 to pay $22.39 for the base 4,500 gallons per month allotment, compared to the old rate of $18.66 for 2,500 gallons per month.
Residents who have moved to Flowery Branch since 2000 now will pay $29.87 for 4,500 gallons per month rather than the previous $24.89 for 2,500 gallons per month.
City Manager Bill Andrew has said that charging new residents more for the services is justified because the city has made costly capital investments in infrastructure since June 2000 to accommodate new residents.
Residents can get a $10 discount on their monthly water bill if they have been declared disabled or if they are head of the household and 65 years of age or older.
In addition to the new rate structure, City Council unanimously passed a new service charge for all city water and sewer customers.
The service charge will require water and sewer customers to pay an additional monthly fee of $2.50, and will require water or sewer only customers to pay an additional $1.50 each month.
The service charges will cover rising costs associated with city staff reading water meters, mailing bills and handling telephone calls regarding utility services.
The City Council will vote Wednesday on whether to impose a $1 service charge for trash-only customers. The increase would bump the monthly pick-up fee to $12 from $11.