Rate increases for Fannin County Water Authority

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Customers of the Fannin County Water Authority (FCWA) were left wondering if their bills would see an increase after the city of Blue Ridge implemented a rate increase for wholesale customers.

The city of Blue Ridge increased their rates by $1.00 per 1,000 gallons of usage in June 2017. This increase affected all city water customers. The city announced recently that their wholesale buyers, FCWA and the city of McCaysville, would see another similar increase in 2018.

Fannin County, Georgia, Blue Ridge, McCaysville, Fannin County Water Authority, Rate Increase, Chairwoman Anita Weaver, Vice Chairman Larry Chapman, Zack ratcliff, David Falls, Angie Arp, Mark Burger, Kay Kendall

FCWA board members discuss the impacts of a rate increase.

“The city of Blue Ridge has made an increase for our water services. I know a lot of you are here today to see how it is going to effect your rates,” FCWA Chairwoman Anita Weaver addressed the crowd at the April FCWA meeting.

Weaver also acknowledged that the news of this increase has not left the FCWA with time to discuss its potential impact: “The water authority has really not had an opportunity to go over all of this at the present time, to look at our budget, to see if there will be an increase.”

Following the June 2017 rate increase from the city, the FCWA passed on 75 percent of the increase to its customers.

FCWA board member Kay Kendall was present at the city meeting when the wholesale rate increase was implemented and explains why there was a need to raise prices: “I was at the meeting and if I understand it right, it was due to the cost for them (city).”

FCWA is currently in a three-year contract with the City of Blue Ridge, and there is little in the contract to prevent any kind of increase the city might enforce.

“There’s no promise that in terms of looking at increases,” Weaver said explaining the current contract, “just a very vague statement that says, ‘we (city) can do whatever we want, every time, every year.'”

Questions arose from current FCWA customers asking the board what can be done to renegotiate the terms of the contract, and what the board plans to do moving forward.

The board was unable to discuss the reworking of the contract, and Kendall added, “We fully recognize that, right now, the city holds the cards.”

Assuring customers that the board is not taking the matter lightly, Weaver said, “I have talked with a couple of the council members and I plan on continuing to talk to them to see what we can resolve in this matter.”

FCWA Vice Chairman Larry Chapman added to Weaver’s thoughts, “A lot of the questions you folks have are the same questions we have and we’ve got to find the answers to those.”

The FCWA hopes to have more answers in their next monthly meeting scheduled to be held Wednesday, May 16, at the Fannin County Courthouse.

 

 

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Fannin County Water Authority evaluates customer rates

Community, News

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Projects continue to make progress as the Fannin County Water Authority (FCWA) expands its service area. Two such projects, Dry Branch Road and Blue Bird Road, have been in the works for several months now, and the board received updates on both.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Fannin County Water Authority, Carter and Sloope, Kurt McCord, Larry Chapman, Anita Weaver, David Falls, Kay Kendall, Water Rates, Residential, Commercial

Blue Bird Road project moves towards completion.

Kurt McCord, a project engineer with Carter & Sloope, Inc., informed the FCWA board that plans for the Dry Branch Road expansion are complete and that all approvals needed for the continuation of Blue Bird Road have been granted. McCord says that the Blue Bird Road project could possibly be complete in two months.

With this expansion comes the need to discuss rates for water customers. FCWA continues to grow and McCord presented the board with recommendations for pricing to its customers.

“We basically looked, really at the neighboring systems, kind of around us, ” McCord said, explaining how the pricing recommendations came about.
By comparing rates of the city of Blairsville, city of Blue Ridge (inside), city of Blue Ridge (outside), Ellijay-Gilmer County Water & Sewer, city of McCaysville, and the city of Morganton, Carter & Sloope came up with a set of prices for FCWA customers.

Fannin County poses a unique set of difficulties when pricing water rates in that many of the homes in the county  are second homes or rental properties, leading to less water use on average than that of full-time residents.

“I think it was wise at the time to adopt a higher base rate,” McCord explained of the proposed numbers, “because I think we have come to find out that they (part-time residents) may only be using 2,500 to 3,000 gallons a month.”

FCWA board member David Falls explained that the rates need to be enough to cover maintenance, employee’s salary, and any other costs associated with providing water to Fannin County residents.

Discussion arose about industry specific pricing. FCWA Vice Chairman Larry Chapman brought this issue to the board’s attention: “If we have chicken houses or something like that, we are going to have to look at a guaranteed minimum usage on something like that.”

Chapman cited that industries such as the chicken houses would likely use county water as a backup system.

Fannin County Attorney Lynn Doss explained that commercial rates could be broken up into different categories of industry and could also be examined on a case-by-case basis.

“You set the base lines. Then you have to negotiate certain things,” Doss described of providing water for commercial use on a case-by-case basis, “especially while you’re still in the mode of expanding your lines, your overall services.”

Board Member Kay Kendall asked if impact fees were being set aside into a separate account, and suggested that if not, these fees could be put into a separate account for capital improvements.

“Just set aside so that we would know that that is our building fund,” Kendall explained of the need. “Put them in a separate capital improvement account with the idea that in an emergency situation, we could use for operations, but it would require authority approval.”

The board unanimously voted to open a new account for impact fees, with the understanding that the board could approve to use these funds in another area if an emergency need arises.

Chapman suggested a small impact fee be added to residential service. The board unanimously approved these impact fees on residential. The new impact fees would include $25 on 3/4-inch residential water line and $50 for one-inch residential water line.

The board approved the recommendations for water rates in Fannin County with the added impacts fees. Commercial pricing will mimic irrigation pricing.

The board will re-evaluate rates on an annual basis.

 

Monthly Billing:
$38.00 monthly charge (does not include any water)
$5.00 per 1,000 gallons up to 5,000 gallons
$7.00 per 1,000 gallons over 5,000 gallons

Tap Fee:
For 3/4″ Residential Water Line:
Tap Fee: $1,465.00
Impact Fee: $25.00
Deposit: $125.00
Admn. Charge: $35.00
TOTAL: $1,650.00

For 1″ Residential Water Line:
Tap Fee: $1,890.00
Impact Fee: $50.00
Deposit: $200.00
Admin. Charge: $35.00
TOTAL: $2,175.00

Other Fees:
Late Fee: $15.00
Returned Check: $30.00
Disconnection: $50.00
Reconnection: $75.00
After hrs. Restore Service $100.00
Meter Tampering: $150.00
Admin. Fee: $35.00
Hydrant Meter/Bulk Water Purchase:
Deposit: $750.00
Monthly Rental: $50.00
Water Usage: $5.00 / 1,000 gallons

Irrigation:
$38.00 monthly (no water included)
$6.00 / 1,000 gallons up to 5,000 gallons
$8.00 / 1,000 gallons over 5,000 gallons

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Fire and Ice a success in Blue Ridge

Community, Downtown Blue Ridge

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Once a year in the dead of winter, things get spicy in downtown Blue Ridge as residents and tourists alike experience a “chili” weekend in February.

The eighth annual Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off Festival, brought to you by the Blue Ridge Business Association partnering with the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, kicked off Saturday, Feb. 17, and brought in crowds despite the weather.

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Fire and Ice, Chili Cook Off, Blue Ridge Business Association, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, David Ralston, B. Alison Sosebee, Kay Kendall, Doug David, Bob Evans, Cesar Martinez, Cindy Trimble, People's Choice Award, Chester Brunnenmeyer's Bar and Grill, Blue Jeans Pizza, Blue Ridge Brewery, Project Chimps, Habitat for Humanity, Hot House Missionary Church, Grilling Gangsters, Kelly Barton, Pitstop Chili, Boar's Nesters, Mercier Orchards, Chuck's Moonshine Chili

Crowds enjoyed the live ice sculpting demonstration provided by Rock On Ice.

Visitors to the festival were welcomed to take part in the judging of the chili cook off where the contestant with the highest number of votes takes home the coveted People’s Choice award.

The Fire and Ice Festival also now holds the honor of being the largest ice sculpting display in the Southeast. Award-winning National Ice Carving Champion Rock On Ice created many unique sculptures sponsored by several area businesses and demonstrated their difficult art form firsthand with live ice sculpting demonstrations in the park.

Official Chili Cook Off judges were also on hand to judge this years 16 contestants and to award first, second, and third place in four different categories.

Among the guest judges were Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston, Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee, former celebrity chef Bob Evans, developer Doug David, and former chef and restaurant owner Kay Kendall.

“This is really one of the bigger events put on by the business association,” Blue Ridge Business Association President Cesar Martinez spoke about the festival.

Martinez explained that despite the unpredictable weather, this year’s festival saw a large turn out: “Better than last year. Last year, it rained actually more than this.”

Guest announcer Cindy Trimble took the stage at 3 p.m. for the moment that everyone had been waiting for, the announcement of 2018 Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off winners.

Trimble explained that judges were given five categories in which they had to rate each chili. These categories were aroma, color, taste, texture, and after-taste. Each category was rated on a scale of 1-to-10 and points from all judges were then added together to determine a winner.

The maximum number of points possible for a contestant to receive was 250.

The winners for each category were:

Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Georgia, Fire and Ice, Chili Cook Off, Blue Ridge Business Association, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, David Ralston, B. Alison Sosebee, Kay Kendall, Doug David, Bob Evans, Cesar Martinez, Cindy Trimble, People's Choice Award, Chester Brunnenmeyer's Bar and Grill, Blue Jeans Pizza, Blue Ridge Brewery, Project Chimps, Habitat for Humanity, Hot House Missionary Church, Grilling Gangsters, Kelly Barton, Pitstop Chili, Boar's Nesters, Mercier Orchards, Chuck's Moonshine Chili

Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill took home the People’s Choice Award for a second year in a row.

Adult Individual
1. Grilling Gangsters with 176 points
2. Kelly Barton with 174 points
3. Pitstop Chili with 153 points

Team Adult
1. Boars Nesters with 175 points
2. Mercier Orchards with 162 points
3. Chuck’s Moonshine Chili with 155 points

Civic Team
1. Project Chimps with 178 points
2. Habitat for Humanity with 164 points
3. Hot House Missionary Church with 129 points

Restaurant
1. Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar and Grill with 168 points
2. Blue Jeans Pizza with 166 points
3. Blue Ridge Brewery with 165 points

Project Chimps, a sanctuary for chimpanzees, received the highest rating by the judges, and Trimble pointed out a uniqueness to their recipe: “This was a really unusually chili and you guys loved it.”

The recipe used by Project Chimps was “chimp friendly,” meaning that all the ingredients used were ingredients that the chimps could also eat and often do for their meals.

Finally, the coveted People’s Choice award was given. Out of 934 ballots turned in by visitors to the festival, Chester Brunnenmeyer’s received 185 of those votes, giving them the people’s choice chili award for a second year in a row.

 

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Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Fannin County Water Authority Opts to Sell Old Quarry Property

News

BLUE RIDGE, GA – The Fannin County Water Authority (FCWA) opted to sell land and equipment to fund future projects in our area.

At their regularly scheduled meeting held on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, discussions continued about the Blue Bird Road addition and Dry Branch Expansion.

The Blue Bird Road project is currently underway. Plans are being finalized and permits are being obtained to begin construction. The project is estimated to begin in late February or early March of 2018.

Carter & Sloope Consulting Engineers were present to discuss possible money saving options with this project. One suggestion that was presented was the possibility of connecting to the Hidden Valley Drive water system. This would eliminate the need for a new Operating Permit.

Board members also voted to move forward with expansion in the Dry Branch area. This project is estimated to cost $200,000 and the funds are currently available through SPLOST.

In an executive session the Board voted on the sale of equipment to the county, with the option of leasing it back from the county on an as needed basis. Board member Zach Ratcliff abstained from voting on this matter.

Fannin County, Georgia, Fannin County Water Authority, FCWA, Zach Ratcliff, Kay Kendall, Old Quarry Property, Development Authority, TVA Economic Development, Anita Weaver, Blue Bird Road, Dry Branch

The property located on Old Quarry Road includes an 8 acre pond.

The county is expected to purchase a 2015 work truck for a price of $20,000 and a Kubota Excavator for $42,000.

Ratcliff noted that the excavator was purchased to complete the Riverwalk project and is no longer needed.

Board member Kay Kendall explained that, “FCWA is moving away from doing our own construction.”

It was also unanimously decided in the executive session that FCWA will sell their land known as “The Old Quarry Property.”

This property, located on Old Quarry Road, is posted for sale on both the Fannin County Development Authority website, and the TVA Economic Development website.

The minimum bid is set at $160,000 with bid increments of $1,000.

FCWA asks that the following instruction be followed in order for successful bids to be considered:

All bids are to be received no later than 4:30 PM on November 14, 2017. Bids are to be submitted to the Fannin County Water Authority, 400 West Main, Suite 101 B, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513 and are to be clearly marked as “Property bid” so the same will not be opened with general mail. Bids will be opened in the “old business” section of the regularly scheduled meeting of the Fannin County Water Authority on Wednesday November 15, 2017, which meeting is held in the Fannin County Courthouse, Commissioners’ Conference Room, located at 400 West Main Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513, commencing at 2:00 PM. The successful bidder should be prepared to provide proof of funds within ten business days of being notified as to being the successful bid; and to close no later than noon on December 29, 2017. All closing costs to be paid by the successful bidder. Any questions, should be directed to Anita Weaver, Fannin County Water Authority Chairman at 706-632-4503.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

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