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Cobb Commission Votes to Hike Water Rates


At the start of the New Year, Cobb County water customers can look forward to a rate hike in their water bills thanks to members of the Cobb County Commission. The Commission voted to approve an 11% increase for customer water and sewer services next year. Over 190,000 homes and businesses in unincorporated Cobb County and the cities of Acworth, Kennesaw and Powder Springs will be affected by this increase to their drinking and sewer water services distributed by the Cobb County Water System.

 The increased fee passed in a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner JoAnn Birrell opposed. Her opposition was based on the county practice of transferring 8% of the water system’s revenues into the county general fund. Burrell said she couldn’t support a hike in water rates while money continues to be transferred out of the water fund. Currently, a customer pays $49.42 each month. When the rate increase takes effect Jan. 1, those monthly bills are expected to go up $5.43 or more.

 On Oct. 1, Cobb’s fiscal 2022 budget will take effect. The department pushed for the rate increase because they anticipate a 1.6% decrease in water fund revenues over the previous year. Cobb County Water Agency Director Judy Jones told commissioners that Cobb still has the lowest water rates of any utility provider in metro Atlanta. The rate increases will help the system cover reductions in revenues, rising chemical and material costs and plans to upgrade the system’s infrastructure. Because the cities handle stormwater duties, residents of Cobb’s cities continue to enjoy a slightly lower rate than their peers in unincorporated Cobb.

 Jones said, “Even with the proposed rate adjustment, customers pay a little more than $1.20 for the delivery of 100 gallons of water to their homes, removal of the water once used, reclamation of the water through treatment to a very high standard and return of the resource to either Allatoona Lake or the Chattahoochee River where it is available for further use and enjoyment.”

 Cobb last voted to increase water rates in July 2018, where Commissioners agreed to transfer 10% of those revenues from the water fund to the county’s general fund each year.

 Commissioner Keli Gambrill voted for the raise, saying it reduces the property tax rate by as much as $0.64 per $1,000 of taxable value each year. “I’m willing to support the water rate increase because that is something that the end user can control the expense of,” said Gambrill. “They can’t control the expense of taxes that are applied to their property … because that’s assigned a value that they can’t change.


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