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March 05, 2014CUMMING, Ga. — The city of Cumming said it's raising sewer rates for its customers.
Jon Heard, the city of Cumming director of utilities, said the city is trying to raise its revenues by bringing the city's rate to a regional average.
The council voted 5-0 to change the price of the service incrementally by $1 over the next four years.
The city services include city and county customers.
Beginning in June, residents who rely on the city for sewer will pay $3.84 per 1,000 gallons while the commercial rate will be $4.30 per 1,000 gallons. The following year, that price increases by $1 to $4.84 for residents and $5.30 for commercial properties until June 2017, when rates will be increased to $6.84 per 1,000 for residential and $7.30 for commercial.
Heard said the Northside Hospital-Forsyth rate will be increased to $7.30 per 1,000 in June because of their aggressive growth and infrastructure improvements that are solely for the hospital.
Heard told council the average rate for sewer customers will increase about $6 per month each year. By 2017, residential sewer rates would have increased by $24.
The increase, Heard said, is to offset $60 million in upgrades at city facilities and a decrease in sewer connection fees.
"We're just not generating that much revenue from hook-on fees right now, so one of the things we need to look at is increasing sewer rates," he said.
When a new home connects onto the city's sewer, $5,000 is generated.
"So if you have a large subdivision of say 100 homes, you'll generate a lot of revenue," Heard said.
Even with the upcoming increase, Heard said the city's rates in 2017 will be lower than the 2010 average.
"We've got a very affordable rate," Heard said.
Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said the dollar per year increase is reasonable.
"Especially since we haven't had a rate increase since 2008," Gravitt said.