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Chairman: Study shouldn't affect water deal
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Forsyth County News

Commission Chairman Jim Boff called on the city of Cumming to finalize an intergovernmental water agreement with the county during Thursday’s board meeting.

The city and county spent several months earlier this spring negotiating a new water contract.

Forsyth County purchases untreated and some treated water from Cumming, which has a withdrawal permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The county does not.

While major provisions of the deal were accepted by the city and county in late May, a final intergovernmental agreement has not yet been reached by the two entities.

Boff said he had attended Tuesday’s city council meeting in the hopes the contract the commission sent over Monday would be accepted.

“Due partially to time constraints, no decision was reached on that agreement,” he said. “Instead there was a so-called rate study presented to the mayor and council.”

The study, done by Civil Engineering Consultants Inc. of Marietta, examined rates charged by 19 area cities and counties for water and sewer services, including Cumming and Forsyth County.

Based on its data collected, the firm recommended that the city could charge the county $5 per 1,000 gallons rather than the current $2.43 rate for treated water.

The figures showed that the city’s cost to treat water is $2.98 per 1,000 gallons, and so 55 cents of the county’s water is subsidized.

Boff did not agree with the findings of the study, specifically that the city loses money on selling water to the county.

“Since the county is the city’s largest customer, and since we pay the highest price for water, and since the city does not show a loss in its budget,” he said, “this conclusion is at best unfounded.”

The council did not take any action after hearing the presentation.

Boff said in his Thursday announcement that the terms of the agreement have already been reached and this information should not be a factor in finalizing the contract language.

“I want to make it clear that since negotiations are already over,” he said, “this commissioner will go no further in negotiation and expect the city to timely honor what it has already committed.”