Posted: Thursday, August 26th 2010 at 9:41pm
Flowery Branch water rate debate tabled
By Marc Eggers Staff
FLOWERY BRANCH – The anticipated discussion and vote on new water and sewer rates for Flowery Branch residents never occurred this evening. They were postponed following a citizen’s request made during the Public Comment portion of the City Council meeting, and a request made by City Manager Bill Andrew for a delay so additional details could be added to the resolution.
Former City Councilman Craig Lutz addressed the Council during the Public Comment segment of the agenda. He reminded the Council that the new agenda format they were using for their meetings had a contingency attached to it.
Lutz explained it this way. “They had agreed that if anything controversial came up that would only require one vote, like this resolution on water rates, that they would put that vote off until the next meeting to give the press an opportunity to report on that controversial issue, and then give the public an opportunity to come in and comment on it.”
City Manager Bill Andrew shortly thereafter contributed another reason for a postponement of the upcoming discussion and possible vote. He said that he wanted to add a fee schedule to the resolution spelling out any fines that might be incurred by individuals who tamper with their meters.
Andrew said no such schedule currently existed in their ordinances although the city had been charging a set $25 fee for such tampering. Adding that schedule to the resolution would change the resolution and necessitate additional public hearings.
Council unanimously approved a delay of any vote on the water rates until their September 23rd meeting with a time for public comment at their September 9th work session as well as at the September 23rd meeting.
The Resolution recommends that “established” residential customers who have enjoyed a lower water and sewer rate than new residents (after June, 2000) be brought up to the payment level of the newer customers, thereby eliminating a two-tier pricing structure.
The average increase for those "established" low usage customers would be $12.47 per month.
The Resolution provides a hardship discount to the elderly, the disabled, and low-income individuals. The amount of the discount is bandied between $10 and $20 with a requirement that those eligible submit an application for the discount.
TAX MILLAGE RATE TO REMAIN THE SAME
The City Council was visibly pleased to make it official: the 2011 millage rate would remain unchanged at 2.837 mils for the fifth consecutive year.
Tax bills will be sent out October 1st and due by December 31st.
CITIES OF OAKWOOD & FLOWERY BRANCH REACH ACCORD
The cities of Oakwood and Flowery Branch have finally hammered out the details in a long-standing difference of opinion involving a payment made by Ingles Supermarkets for sewer service that occurred several years ago.
In 2008 Ingles paid Flowery Branch $264,000 for sewer service that Oakwood contends should have been paid to them.
Flowery Branch used $120,000 of those funds to pay Hall County but has “sat” on the balance of those funds as Oakwood has made their case.
In the meantime, Oakwood has been withholding certain payments that they would normally remit to Flowery Branch until their disagreement could be resolved.
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