The Bremen City Council on Monday tabled a water rate hike that members were considering after the Haralson County Water Authority raised its rates effective on Jan. 1.
Of the 750,000 gallons of water per day that the city’s businesses and residents use, the city is contracted to purchase 400,000 gallons from the Haralson County authority, said City Manager Perry Hicks. The water hike will be about 31 cents per 1,000 gallons, or $124 a day, he said.
“We can’t bear all the increase,” Hicks said. “Obviously, we’ll have to go to our customer base and recover those increases.”
The increase from the Haralson County authority is about 12%. The average household in Bremen uses about 5,000 gallons of water a month, he said. So, passing along the same increase would cost them about $1.55 a month, Hicks added.
The council members were considering an about 15% increase though. The city hasn’t raised water rates for about three years despite an increase in the cost of processing water, Hicks said.
“We’ve actually been able to absorb increases whether it be increases in personnel or healthcare or chemicals, things of that nature,” he said.
The council members tabled the measure asking the city to figure out a minimum billing that would reflect the increase at the closest even dollar amount.
The city has tried to renegotiate the contract with the Haralson County authority since it does have the capability of producing nearly 600,000 gallons of water a day. But Hicks said he was unsure if the city produced water would be cheaper for residents.
In other business council members:
• approved a request for state legislators to increase the city’s Hotel/Motel tax from the current 5% of gross rentals to no more than 8% of gross rentals.
• as the tax levying body in the city, accepted and approved the results of a Nov. 3 referendum continuing the special purpose local option sales tax for education and the issuance of bonds by the school system to finance a renovation and expansion of the Bremen High School by the Bremen Board of Education.
• recognized Jason Hulsey and the late Jim Norton for their service on the city’s Planning Commission. The council members appointed Brandon Smith and Corey Coats to take their places on the Commission. Smith and Coats will be serving three-year terms.
• appointed Councilwoman Salli Thomason as mayor pro tem, Amy Ridley as city clerk, and Sam Price as city attorney.