Tuesday night, Cumming mayor and council also:
• Approved changing their regular monthly meeting time to 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month. Currently, the council meets at 6 p.m. for a scheduled executive session and reconvenes the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. City attorney Dana Miles said now the council can call an executive session meeting only when needed.
• Approved an annexation request from Sawnee EMC for several land parcels between Highway 9 and Veterans Memorial Boulevard totaling about 40 acres.
• Approved purchase of the following items for the recreation and parks department: printing of 21,000 copies of the fall and winter brochure for about $3,600 by the Graphic Edge; purchase of a new balance beam at about $3,300 from Wynn-Wynn Athletic; and three new desktop computers for about $3,300 from Sed International.
• Approved alcohol license requests from Taco Mac and Marie’s Italian Deli, Bakery & Market.
Note: All votes were 5-0.
— Crystal Ledford
A civil engineer told Cumming city leaders they should be charging more for water and sewer services.
During Tuesday night’s regular meeting of the mayor and council, Nolan “Butch” Johnson, an engineer with Civil Engineering Consultants Inc. in Marietta, presented results of a study commissioned by the city.
“Some months ago when we started water discussion [with Forsyth County], the city board authorized a rate study be done by a civil engineer company,” Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said.
The city and county spent several months earlier this spring negotiating a new water contract as the county purchases untreated and some treated water from the city, which has a withdrawal permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and 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.
The civil engineering study examined rates charged by 19 area cities and counties for water and sewer services, including Cumming and Forsyth County.
Some of the other areas included Cherokee, Gwinnett and Fulton counties, and the cities of Buford, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Gainesville, Canton and Roswell.
Johnson said the average water rate for 7,000 gallons was $5.39 and sewer rate was $6.22.
For 7,000 gallons, Cumming’s rates are $2.48 and $2.80 for water and sewer, respectively, while Forsyth County’s rates are $4.79 and $4.84.
Johnson said, based on those numbers, the firm’s recommendation to the city would be to charge the county $5 per 1,000 gallons for treated water and $6 per 1,000 gallons for sewer.
As for untreated water, Johnson recommended charging 20 cents per 1,000 gallons if the county pays $11.4 million for a 65 percent allocation of an intake facility the city built in 2009.
If the $11.4 million were unpaid, Johnson said the recommendation would be to charge 38 cents per 1,000 gallons.
Council did not take any action regarding the information presented by Johnson.
“This information that was presented here was not something we’re going to act on currently,” Gravitt said. “We needed information for the records and we needed something to know what the city’s costs in producing the product for water and raw water, and basically that’s what we’re talking about with the county.
“I think the city has provided [treated] and [untreated] water at a very, very fair price over the years.”
Gravitt said he hopes city and county leaders will be able to finalize the intergovernmental agreement soon.
“Hopefully we can get this done in the next few days and we’ll be able to sign off on it with the county,” he said.