Conservation leads to water, sewer rate hikes

Residents of Sandy Springs can expect a rate hike of 15 percent on their water and sewer bills during the new budget year because they have done so well in conserving water use during the drought.

Fulton County provides sewer service to the city of Sandy Springs and the county commission voted May 7 to match the 15 percent conservation penalty the city of Atlanta’s utility asked to impose earlier this year.

The county provides water and sewer service to some areas of north Fulton County. It provides sewer service only in Sandy Springs. However, according to Sandy Springs’ chief financial officer, Steve Rapson, both of the city’s water and sewer services originate with the city of Atlanta.

Fulton County water usage has dropped as much as 30 percent since last year when Gov. Sonny Perdue asked each county to cut usage by at least 10 percent. The reduction in revenue to the county because of that drop in usage has the county facing potential default on its bonds.

Meanwhile, while the county has acted to initiate the conservation penalty charge, the passage of that measure in Atlanta is stalled in the city council’s utilities committee and may not be passed.

Another action before the Atlanta City Council would initiate a four-year rate hike plan that would increase the average water/sewer rate 80 percent — from $84.60 a month to $151.92 by the fourth year.

— John Schaffner

Agreement reduces permitting times

On April 17, the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission ratified a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the City of Sandy Springs and the Fulton County Soil & Water Conservation District.

The MOA allows the city to conduct the review and approval of erosion and sediment control plans for Land Disturbance Permit projects without the necessity of referring the application and plan to the Fulton County Soil & Water Conservation District for prior approval.

The final approval of the MOA will reduce permitting time for Land Disturbance Permit projects that involve an acre or greater of disturbed area by four weeks or more. It is the culmination of more than a year’s work by staff from departments throughout the city.

“This is a significant achievement for the city and should be recognized as such,” Community Development Director, Nancy Leathers said. “By having this MOA, we will be able to cut down on permitting time, which to developers, at any time but especially in this economy, is a very important thing.”

For more information on the city of Sandy Springs, visit www.sandyspringsga.org or call 770-730-5600.