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City water rates may increase
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Residents in the city of Dawsonville have not had a water rate increase in more than five years, but change is coming.

G. Ben Turnipseed presented a study on water and sewer rates to the city council on Monday, Oct. 1. He told the council the city had not conducted a water study in five years and that annual studies should have been done.

Weve gotten a little behind, said Mayor James Grogan. Our rates have stayed the same.

Turpinseed said the city should consider increasing water and sewer rates by 15 percent. Water and sewer revenues of $841,600 do not cover expenses of $992,838, according to Turpenseed. He also noted that the city has only one rate structure.

In North Georgia and other communities, they have a tiered rate structure, he said. The more water you use, the higher your rate to encourage conservation. Its not a lot higher, but it encourages conservation.

Even with an increase, water rates in the city would remain lower than water provided by Etowah Water and Sewer to county residents, he added.

Well water is less expensive than surface water, he said. Most city residents use well water.

City residents arent the only ones feeling a financial pinch.

Results of a 12-year study conducted by USA Today and published Sept, 29 show that rates in Atlanta increased 233 percent during that time, the highest increase in the country. In Augusta, Georgia water rates were up 141 percent, while Savannah was up 34 percent.

Before any rate increase could take effect in Dawsonville, however, the city first must pass an ordinance revising its water and sewer rate structure. If the city decides to take action on Turpinseeds recommendations, two city council meetings would be required likely during the regularly scheduled November and December meetings.

In other city council action:

--Mayor Grogan proclaimed October as National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. City residents Darin and Kathy Shelp and their children Adam, 17, Nathan, 15, Christopher, 12, and Rachael, 10, were on hand as they mayor read the proclamation. Also with them were Pam Gross and Jonathan Gross, 12.

--Mayor Grogan also proclaimed Nov. 4 as Retired Educators Day.

--GMA Clerk Training on Nov. 16 was approved for City Clerk Bonnie Warne.

--GARC Training was approved for Mayor Grogan, Nov. 7-9, in St. Simons.

--Hi-5 Consulting has requested annexation of 5.017 acres into the city limits. The council agreed to table the request until the March 2013.