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.
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.
$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
For 3/4″ Residential Water Line:
Tap Fee: $1,465.00
Impact Fee: $25.00
Admn. Charge: $35.00
For 1″ Residential Water Line:
Tap Fee: $1,890.00
Impact Fee: $50.00
Admin. Charge: $35.00
Late Fee: $15.00
Returned Check: $30.00
After hrs. Restore Service $100.00
Meter Tampering: $150.00
Admin. Fee: $35.00
Hydrant Meter/Bulk Water Purchase:
Monthly Rental: $50.00
Water Usage: $5.00 / 1,000 gallons
$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
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