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How much water, sewer rates could go up next year in Flowery Branch
City Hall.jpg
Flowery Branch City Hall - photo by Scott Rogers

As Flowery Branch is growing, so may be its water and sewer rates.

The city is considering a five-year rate plan that was rolled out to Flowery Branch City Council Thursday, Oct. 21, by Finance Director Alisha Gamble and the city’s consultant, Nelsnick Enterprises.

To be voted on at a later meeting, the plan shows the rate structure for water and sewer customers inside and outside the city and based on tiers of water usage.

If the plan is approved, monthly rates for 2022 will go up 3% in most tiers for customers inside the city, starting Jan. 1. City residents using 2,501-4,500 gallons of water would see a dip in rates next year but then an increase over the next four years.

Rate changes include “lowering the cost to the low usage customers and reallocating the costs to the appropriate levels of service used,” a Flowery Branch document states.

Account servicing fees and base charges also are set to go up every year over the next five years, according to the plan.

“The proposed rate schedule is driven by the future debt payments for the wastewater treatment plant expansion and new wells and water system improvements,” Nelsnick says in a document outlining the water and sewer charges.

The sewer plant expansion is expected to cost about $22 million and the new wells and water system improvements, about $5 million.

The city has been working with Nelsnick for several years on a new water and sewer rate structure, anticipating water and sewer system improvements.

Nelsnick presented a plan in 2017, but the city needed to re-evaluate its capital improvement plan in 2018 “due to various new developments coming to the area and more stress on the current system.”

The city’s growth has accelerated the past few years with apartments being built, subdivisions developing and steady housing construction at its largest subdivision, Sterling on the Lake, which is permitted for up to 2,000 homes.

The public will be able to comment on the rate plan in two meetings before Flowery Branch City Council takes a final vote, Gamble said.

Water, sewer rates

What: Flowery Branch is considering a 3% increase in water and sewer rates.
Effective: Jan. 1, 2022
What’s next: The public will be able to comment on the plan in two meetings before Flowery Branch City Council takes a final vote.

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