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Cupid, along with Democratic Cobb Commissioners hike water fees by 7.5% over GOP opposition


In what has been described as back-to-back blows to residents of Cobb County, Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, and her Democratic colleagues voted to raise water rates by 7.5%. Cobb County residents will see an increase in their water bills starting Oct. 1.

This vote came after Cupid and the company refused to roll back the mileage rate and instead voted to allow it to remain at the same level as the previous year, which equates to a tax increase for homeowners and businesses.

Republican Commissioners JoAnn Birrell and Keli Gambrill who opposed the increase challenged Cupid on the notion that raising water rates were necessary. Birrell was firm on her position opposing rate increases as long as the county continued transferring a percentage of the water system’s revenues to the county general fund. 

Said Birrell about the water transfer, “I can’t justify raising rates in the water system when we’re taking money out of water that’s being moved over to the general fund for other departments.”

Cupid responded that the county is able to transfer revenue from the water system to the general fund because its water system services other counties as well. Gambrill quickly challenged Cupid on an understanding of this important area in Cobb’s government saying, “That is false. We do not sell water to other counties, which would then ‘justify’ doing the 10% transfer that she was trying to state to the public. The only thing the county provides to other counties is the service of wastewater.”

Cupid, who has been in Cobb government for years as a commissioner and now chair, appeared unfamiliar with the water rates process and seemed dead-set on supporting yet another tax increase on the backs of residents.

Gambrill was not done educating Cupid about Cobb water. She disputed Cupid’s explanation of the need for an increased water rate, saying if the water system continued getting more funding back from the reduced water transfer, it would not need as high a rate. She also disputed the chair’s justification of the water transfer, saying, “…it’s the water authority, not the county’s water system, that services other counties.: 

Meanwhile, Birrell has been pushing for the money to stay in the water system and points to residents bearing the rising costs for water from Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority.  

“They’ve increased their fees to us to purchase the water, so it’s kind of a pass-through, pass-down to the consumer,” Birrell said.

The government agency, Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority, is where the county and Cobb’s cities buy their water. Cupid is a board member. 

The community remains unhappy with Cupid and the mileage rate vote, so the follow-up vote to increase water rates are not sitting well with residents. 

They say they are looking forward to the 2024 election cycle where they can voice their positions at the ballot box against governance out of touch with the people they were elected to serve.


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