The decision to raise water rates has come after much debating and problem solving among the council members. For several months, the council has been attempting to locate the reason for the gap in the amount of water they purchase from the Haralson County Water Authority and the amount they sell to customers. While they have found several small water leaks and repaired them, the gap between what they pay to the Water Authority and what the city receives in revenue from customers remains too great to sustain.
Compounding the problem is the $11,000 loan the city took out several years ago to pay for a new sewer system. At the time, the city was expected to grow, and the growth was expected to cover the costs of the new sewer system; however, the new homes that were expected to be built in the city never materialized.
These two issues have left the city paying out an extra $2,000 more a month than they take in. The city’s recent audit confirmed the city’s calculations.
“We’re having to come out of pocket every month to cover Water and Sewer costs,” said Waco City Clerk Sherry Morgan. “This is depleting our water fund.”
To begin to cover the $2,000 monthly shortfall before the Water and Sewer fund is completely exhausted, the city approved a motion to increase the flat rate for 2,000 gallons of water to $16 for residents inside the city limits and to $24 to residents outside the city limits. This change will go into effect with residents’ September bills.
However, Morgan said if the city did see growth in the near future, the council could revisit this increase and reverse their decision if the amount of growth would increase revenue enough to cover the current shortfall.
In other business, the council heard from Tom Kuhlmann with Burge & Associates, who presented the 2010 audit for the city. He reported that the city had a “clean” audit and that everything was in order. Copies of the report are on file at City Hall.
The council was also addressed by Victor Ovalle with I&D Auto Salvage, who asked the city to approve the installation of salvage scales at his business on the corner of King Street. According to the minutes, the operation of these scales would increase traffic and the number of large trucks hauling scrap metal traveling Highway 78.
The council tabled the issue until they could consult with the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The city is asking for sealed bids on the cost of repairing and/or replacing the roof on City Hall after it was damaged by recent severe storms. Travelers Insurance has already provided the city with an estimate. Sealed bids may be dropped off at City Hall. Contact Morgan or Doug Brock for more information.
The council approved a motion to allow Hands of Creation to use the city of Waco’s Community Center to give out school supplies and preschool hair cuts to Haralson County students.
The council asked Haralson County Commissioner Vance Posey for help arranging some assistance to pick up the trash along the city streets from Highway 78 to Interstate 20, which is a result of the high volume of traffic on the road. Posey said he would look in to arranging assistance.
The city’s annual celebration, Waco Fest, is fast approaching. The festival, set for Sept. 10, will boast food and craft vendors all day, free children’s games all day, and a parade at 11 a.m. Anyone wishing to be in the parade should line up on Bowdon Street at 10 a.m.
Anyone wishing to purchase booth space may contact Morgan at City Hall, 770-537-3314. Booth space costs $35, proceeds from which go to the city’s cost of providing free games and activities.
Also, Waco Baptist will be providing breakfast at 6 a.m. at the Waco Community Center and providing transportation from the church and West Georgia Technical College in Waco to City Hall. Busses will pick up and drop off passengers at each location every 15 minutes.