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Water contract subject of meeting
Officials will review bills, contract status
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Forsyth County News

The Forsyth County commission plans to hold a session Thursday dedicated to its ongoing water contract dispute with the city of Cumming.

Commissioners agreed in a 4-0 vote Tuesday, with Pete Amos recused, to gather at 3 p.m. to discuss recent water bills and the city’s response to the proposed temporary extension of its agreement with the county.

The Cumming City Council last week followed the recommendation of Mayor H. Ford Gravitt to stop selling untreated water to Forsyth if a formal contract is not reached by Oct. 1.

The panel also denied a request from the county commission to extend the previous contract through the end of this year or until a new agreement is finalized.

Days before that deal expired in late May, the county and city agreed on terms of a new contract, but have yet to formalize those bullet points into an official document.

An agreement is needed because the county does not have a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw water from Lake Lanier, while the city does.

Without an agreement in place, Cumming has continued to follow the pricing of the previous deal, which includes cost adjustments to the consumer price index.

Bills from June and July show a 3 percent increase in the cost of treated water per 1,000 gallons based on the consumer price index, which brings the cost per 1,000 gallons of treated water from $2.43 to $2.50.

Under the terms agreed upon for the new deal, the base rate for treated water would reset to $2.25 per 1,000 gallons, which would also be adjusted yearly to the consumer price index.

Also in those terms, Forsyth would maintain the minimum purchase of 1.6 billion gallons per year, and the contract would last for five years, with a five-year option to renew.

For untreated water, the county would pay the current rate, also subject to a price index, for 15 years with a 15-year option to renew.

In addition, the city would also make available an average of 4.5 million gallons per day of untreated water from its withdrawal permit from the EPD.