Byron increases water, sewer rates

Sun News correspondentFebruary 11, 2014 

BYRON -- City Council voted to increase water and sewer rates to $3.25 per 1,000 gallons during its regular meeting Monday.

The $3.25 rate is across the board for all users -- residential and commercial. It’s a raise from the previous $2.65 per 1,000 gallon water rate and the previous $2.75 per 1,000 gallon sewer rate, according to Billy McDaniel, Byron Public Works director, and members of his staff.

“The water and sewer systems are required by law to be self-supporting,” said Mayor Larry Collins. “They’re what are called enterprise funds and aren’t allowed to have city subsidies. Periodically, we have to raise and lower rates to accommodate a break-even point. Unfortunately, the cost of stuff we use in providing the service, like pipes, continues to go up. It’s a function of the general economy, and the water and sewer system has to run like any business, and we had to raise rates.”

Collins said he and council were sensitive to the rate increase’s impact on people and faced with several options, he felt the decision to increase use-based rates was the best one.

The rate increase was brought to council from the Byron Utilities, Planning and Operation, Streets and Sanitation Committee headed by Councilman Michael Chidester.

In other business, Collins said council agreed to refund $45,000 in unused, prepaid sewer tap fees to developer Peachtree Five Capital LLC that had been paid prior to the economic downturn. The tap-on fees were for new construction in the Meadows Walk subdivision.

Collins said the funds have been in escrow, and mass construction did not take place as planned. He said the funds were returned since the development was proceeding by one or two houses at a time rather than in huge numbers.

McDaniel said when originally prepaid, sewer tap fees were $750 each. He said the fee is now $1,000 each.

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

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