Byron residents to see 12 percent increase in water, sewer rates

Telegraph correspondentNovember 12, 2012 

BYRON -- Residents will pay a 12 percent across-the-board increase in water and sewer rates.

City Council approved a measure Monday passing along the increase to residents due to an increase in rates from the Macon Water Authority. Byron’s water treatment processing is done through agreements with the Macon Water Authority.

City Councilman Michael Chidester said agreements with Macon do not allow rate increases in Byron unless rates are increased systemwide for all Macon Water Authority customers. He said this was such an increase.

Despite the 12 percent increase, Chidester said Byron residents were still saving money through the agreement with the Macon Water Authority because building a new treatment facility in Byron, which would be necessary if Byron treated its own water, would have doubled water and sewer rates in the community.

Chidester did not offer particulars on what the rate change would mean to residents in dollars and cents nor was there a date specified for the increase to residents.

In other business, council approved an ordinance setting a $25 non-prorated, non-refundable administrative fee for initial, start-up, renewal and reopening business and occupation tax accounts. Officials said the approved fee brings Byron in line with similar fees across Georgia.

Another ordinance was passed outlining Byron’s policies and provision for emergency management during emergencies within the city.

Also Monday, Mayor Larry Collins, Chidester and other council members had a discussion -- at times heated -- with Byron resident Rusty Adams concerning a vintage LaFrance fire truck once owned by the city.

Adams is a firefighter at Robins Air Force Base and former Byron volunteer firefighter. He and council discussed his previous purchase of the old truck several years ago for $50 when the city wanted to remove it during a facility cleanup.

According participants in the discussion, including Adams, the fire truck was bought and was to be restored if costs permitted. The vehicle, at one point described as a golf-cart sized vehicle, was to be made available for use in parades.

Adams said the LaFrance proved to be too expensive to renovate and was valued at $350 as scrap with a $100 cost for towing. He said at one point it was kept at Robins for evaluation.

Adams and Collins disputed facts of what happened to the truck, though Adams said it had been sold again and had been sitting on a Byron resident’s property with Christmas lights on it for the past two years. Apparently Adams’ primary contention with council Monday was why they had sent a letter to his superiors at Robins inquiring about the truck when they knew how to get in touch with him.

Collins closed the discussion saying the issue, along with documentation and a direction regarding what the city wanted to do concerning the matter, would be addressed at a later date.

During the discussion there were no particular accusations from the city or from Adams regarding wrongdoing concerning the truck.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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