Cobb customers won’t see water rate hike
by Jon Gillooly
December 14, 2013 12:09 AM | 1530 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Unlike those living in the city of Marietta, county Chairman Tim Lee said the 145,000 residential customers who buy water from the county will not see their fees raised in the coming year.

The wholesaler Cobb and Marietta buys their water from approved a 4 percent water increase for the coming year. By refinancing the county’s outstanding bonds at a lower rate, the county will be able to absorb that increase and not pass it on to residents in 2014, Lee said.

“This is another indication of how the board works with our staff to keep costs down in Cobb, not only for the residents, but to make sure we’re competitive,” Lee said.

The Marietta City Council on Wednesday chose to hike water rates for customers of Marietta Water in a 6-1 vote, with Councilman Anthony Coleman opposed.

Bob Lewis, general manager for the city-owned utility, said the rate hike will increase the average user’s monthly bill from $27.66 to $28.06.

Commenting on Cobb’s decision not to raise rates while Marietta did, Lewis said it was one thing to hold off on a rate hike for one year.

“I suspect the reason for that and the fact that the (Cobb) Water System didn’t have any rate increase, any sewer increase this year is because of the criticism they’ve been getting for transferring money to the general fund,” said Lewis. “But we can’t say that because we do the same thing.”

Lewis is referring to the Board of Commissioners’ decision to move revenue every year from the Cobb Water System to its general fund to help balance the budget.

This year commissioners agreed to transfer 8 percent of the water system revenues, an amount expected to be $17.3 million, according to Robert Quigley, county spokesman.

Yet Marietta follows a similar practice. This summer the Marietta City Council voted to transfer $11.5 million from the city utility to its general fund.

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