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County floats water talks
Official unhappy with city's rate
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Forsyth County News
Cumming and Forsyth County officials could soon meet to haggle over the price the county pays the city for water.

A date for the meeting has not been set. The idea came out of Tuesday’s county commission work session, where the director of water and sewer talked about what may lie ahead.

Under the current contract, the county is required to buy 1.62 billion gallons of water per year from the city at a rate of $2.40 per thousand gallons.

That rate could soon rise to $2.47 per thousand gallons if the county signs on for a new contract.

Perkins recommended the county continue in its deal with the city, at least for the next five years.

“Although,” he added, “we need to keep pursuing water from other areas.”

The county does not have a permit to withdraw water from Lake Lanier, though it has been trying to get one from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for decades.

Cumming, which does have a withdrawal permit, sells water to the county. The city soon will be able to withdraw up to 105 million gallons of water per day from Lanier as the result of a $14 million project.

The county has also looked at the possibility of withdrawing water from the Chattahoochee River, which forms its eastern boundary, as well as the Etowah River, in the county’s northwest corner.

Other options being looked at include water storage such as a reservoir.

At least one commissioner had a problem with the current and proposed new water rate from Cumming. Jim Harrell noted that the city charges its own customers less than it charges the county.

“Every citizen in this county ... should be paying for water at the same price,” Harrell said. “Why are we paying so much money for water?”

Commissioner Patrick Bell said it was a difficult question to ask.

“It’s hard to tell somebody what they should be charging,” he said. “Why don’t we just go to Citgo and tell the operator we don’t want to pay that much for gas?”

Contacted later, Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said he would be open to ideas.

“I’m waiting on them to make a proposal,” he said.

Gravitt added that he did not want to “piecemeal anything.”

“I want to put it in writing to us, and they haven’t done anything,” he said.

Staff Writer Jennifer Sami contributed to this report.