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The Local Agenda: Gainesville council to vote again on increase in water rates and fees
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After deadlocking on whether to raise water rates 1 percent earlier this month, Gainesville City Council will hold another vote today to try and break the impasse. 

Council is now considering approving a zero percent rate increase, and offsetting the resulting $230,000 loss of revenue with an increase in the account service fee, which covers the cost of reading meters, sending bills and related customer service issues.

If approved, the monthly fee would rise 85 cents, from $4.25 to $5.10.

The original proposal called for just a 65-cent increase. The additional 20 cents will generate about $117,000 in revenue.

Council members George Wangemann and Sam Couvillon joined Mayor Danny Dunagan in opposing the water rate increase at the last meeting, while members Ruth Bruner, Bob Hamrick and Myrtle Figueras voted in favor of the increase.

Four votes are needed for water rates to remain unchanged.

In other business, the City Council is set to approve a rollback of the property tax rate.

Officials had previously set the rate at $3.06 per $1,000 of taxable property.

They now want to drop it to $3.02 to remain revenue neutral after a 7.65 percent increase in the tax digest over the last year, a fifth of which was a result of increases in property tax assessments.

Rolling back the tax rate equates to a loss of $134,000 in revenue, but not doing so would amount to a tax increase.

Council will also roll back the tax rate for the city’s school system to $7.48 per $1,000 of taxable property from $7.59.

Gainesville City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. today in the municipal courtroom of the Public Safety Complex, 701 Queen City Parkway.

Proposed subdivision facing more delays

Plans to develop an 89-lot subdivision spanning the Hall and Gwinnett county line have been postponed once more. 

“The applicant has requested ... to table the item, again, this time until the October meeting,” said Hall County Planning Director Srikanth Yamala. “Apparently, he’s not through with Gwinnett County, either.”

Developer Holt Persinger, owner of Winder-based Ridgeline Land Planning Inc., has said he wants to get approval from Gwinnett before proceeding with a request to rezone 22 acres in Hall.

The land proposed for development consists of about 49.5 acres on Ridge Road in the Buford city limits, between Jones Creek subdivision and other tracts facing Friendship Road.

The Hall County portion of the development would entail 36 homes across 22.27 acres.

Water and sewer utilities would be provided by Gwinnett.


Joshua Silavent covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: