Commercial and residential customers in McDonough soon will begin paying more for the water they use.
The McDonough City Council has authorized Mayor Billy Copeland to sign a resolution establishing new residential and commercial water rates, effective July 1.
Customers will see a five percent increase on their water bills, according to McDonough’s Public Works Director, Lee Hearn.
“We’re in the process of bidding out some sewer collection improvements, that we expect to cost in excess of $1 million,” said Hearn. “So, this increase is to help us pay for those improvements.”
During a council meeting, Monday, McDonough City Administrator Frederick Gardiner said customers who use 3,000 gallons of water a month would see an increase on their water bills, from $45.07 a month, to $47.98.
Keith Dickerson, McDonough’s wastewater manager, said the rates were raised as a way to help offset the cost of doing business.
“On the water side, we have made many improvements to replace old poly line connections throughout the city, to help with water loss,” said Dickerson. “On the sewer side, we videoed the sewer lines and found that many of the original clay pipes were deteriorating.
“This fall, the city will start repairs to these lines before they develop into an emergency issue,” Dickerson continued. “The proactive steps to maintain the infrastructure is much cheaper to repair, and less likely to interrupt service, than waiting for it to fail.”
During Monday’s meeting, Gail Notti, City Councilwoman-At-Large, said the city government has strived to maintain a sense of balance with regard to its water rates.
“We, for a very long time in the city, had not adjusted our water rates, and had not kept up properly,” said Notti. “We needed to be more equalized for our constituents.”
Notti said the county government, over the years, has not made sufficient improvements to the infrastructure in McDonough.
Copeland said despite the rate hike, McDonough water and sewer customers receive more effective service than those served by the Henry County Water & Sewerage Authority.
“We are a smaller government, and a little more efficient,” said Copeland.