With upcoming maintenance and regulatory expenditures looming unavoidably, interim City Manager Bill McCain proposed a water rate increase at the Aug. 10 work session.
On her first official day as Adairsville City Manager, Pat Crook was briefed Monday on the matter before the meeting scheduled for Tuesday. Due to her past experience as Paulding County Administrator, Crook knew that Bartow County fell into the planning implemented and mandated for the Metropolitan Water District.
"We looked at this study that was done earlier on possible rates that we were going to talk to you about tonight and I thought that I might look into it more deeply because with my past experience I knew about this thing called the Metropolitan Water District. I knew the region was under the requirements of this planning," Crook said.
Requirements outlined in the plan nullifies the numbers proposed by McCain; although his predictions on expected costs to maintain the water and waste water treatment facilities remain at least as high as they were presented. He estimated as much as $500,000 would be needed in investments over the next five years to keep the facilities operational.
"There are requirements that you adopt what is called a tiered rate structure, it's to encourage conservation and discourage waste, so the more water you use the more you pay per thousand gallons. A lot of the cities and counties in the area just came in and adopted these new and higher rates in the last year and as recently as last month," Crook said.
Requirements were also made for increases to take into account the necessary funds to make repairs and upgrades with expected growth on a 30 year plan. These requirements came as a result of the tri-state water wars between Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
"You have to look at the system and you have see what it costs to operate it in a really good business-like fashion now, determine your costs and then in addition to that plan for the future - what your water needs are going to be in the future. ... And set your rates accordingly to operate your system, keep it maintained in good condition and still in each year set aside enough money to make expansions, repairs and that kind of thing," Crook said. "If you don't you will not get permits, you will not get grants and you will not get loans. So you're just kind of frozen."
Research will continue on the issue with hopes to have a proposed rate structure defined by October and put in place January.
Also discussed at the meeting was Transportation Enhancement Action and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax projects. City Engineer Bob Peoples addressed the council and the mayor regarding the plans.
A TEA project as discussed Tuesday will enhance the area surrounding the United Methodist Church at the north end of Public Square in downtown Adairsville. Sidewalks and a wall will be constructed around the triangular property with the addition of one crosswalk. Plans are expected to be ready later this week for submission to Department of Transportation contractors for review.
Discussion of SPLOST projects consisted solely of the streetscape projects on Summer and King streets and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The project to include sidewalks, curbs and gutters has sparked debate among divided residents along the streets due to the encroachment of pavement into already small yards. However, many residents welcome the sidewalks for improved access and aesthetics. Plans for the project were made available at city hall for the public to view.