Perry mayor predicts no additional water, sewage rate increases

jmink@macon.comDecember 15, 2013 

PERRY -- An increase in the city’s water and sewage rates is doing its job, and those rates are expected to remain stable, Mayor Jimmy Faircloth said.

City Council voted to increase consumption rates by 2.5 percent in November to offset a decline in water usage, which caused a cash-flow problem for the city, Faircloth said.

“It became abundantly clear that if we kept this slow utilization of water, we’d be ... short at the end of the year,” Faircloth said.

A big reason water consumption has been low is due to a wet spring and summer. The problem is a double-edged sword, Faircloth said. While the city wants to encourage residents to conserve water, it needs a certain amount of water use to make payments and keep a balanced budget.

After the rate increase, officials now expect to meet the funding goal, and “there should not be any (additional) increases if that happens,” Faircloth said.

At the Perry State of the Community luncheon last week, Faircloth also discussed the general state of Perry and his goals for the city. There are plans to address substandard housing and hotels in some areas, he said.

In general, Faircloth is looking to continue bringing in jobs, recreational facilities and destinations that not only entice people to visit Perry but also to stay there. He also wants a college to come to Perry, he said.

“The reason I ran for office was to ensure my son has the opportunity and the will and the want to come back to Perry,” he said.

Tommy Stalnaker, Houston County Commission chairman, discussed some of the immediate challenges facing Houston County.

“One of the things we’ve got to do is diversify in this county,” he said.

Houston County is too dependent on Robins Air Force Base as its economic engine, he said. As a 2017 Base Realignment and Closure Commission continues to be a possibility, the county not only needs to develop its economy but also accept BRAC as a real threat, he said. “We have got to take it seriously,” Stalnaker said. “If Robins goes away, it is a huge hole here. We cannot afford that to happen.”

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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