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Boff Lashes Out at Mayor, City Council

Forsyth County Commission Chairman Jim Boff said he is through negotiating the water contract and that mayor and city council approve the binding agreement they have before them.

Updated, July 23, 11 a.m.

Angered by Cumming City Council's failure to ratify terms of a binding agreement to set the rate the city charges the county for water, Forsyth County Commission Chairman Jim Boff made it clear he was done negotiating.

At the start of Thursday's Board of Commissioners meeting, Boff said he attended Tuesday's city council meeting in hopes the agreement would be finalized.

Instead, he said, council listened to a rate study indicating both the city and county charge close to the minimum amount charged by other municipalities both should consider doubling the rate.

"To think that on the basis of a rate study alone, one can begin to talk of raising rates is unbelievable, and to associate the increase without reference to cost is unacceptable," Boff said.

Boff said the consultant advised that the City of Cumming is losing money on every 1,000 gals of finished water the city sells to the county.

"Since the county is the city's largest customer, and since we pay the highest price for water, and since the city does not show a loss in its budget, this conclusion is at best unfounded," he said.

"I want to make it clear to anyone and everyone, that the Mayor has already agreed to terms, and should now accept what was previously agreed. I want to make it clear that since negotiations are already over, this commissioner will go no further in negotiation, and expect the city to timely honor what it has already committed to."

The latest version of the contract sets the county’s rate for treated water at $2.25 per 1,000 gallons, adjusted to the consumer price index, with a minimum purchase of 1.6 billion gallons annually. The rate for untreated water purchases would be $1.25 per 1,000 gallons.

Boff also called on citizens "to contact their State Delegations and insist that laws be passed so that municipalities and counties can no longer be left free to treat state water impounded by a federal dam as an individual gold mine."

In other business before the board, commissioners unanimously approved the 2012 millage rate at 26.574 mils, the same as last year. The overall millage rate is made up of the school board millage of 18.918 mils, the county's maintenance and operating rate (4.812 mils), fire services (1.975 mils) and General Obligation Bonds (0.869 mils).

The county’s 2013 budget is slated for adoption in October.

In addition to adopting the 2012 millage rates for the county’s Maintenance and Operations, Fire and Bond, the Board of Commissioners adopted a Resolution adopting the total 2012 millage rate. As the governing authority, the county Board of Commissioners is required to pass a resolution which includes all of the millage rates of all of the levying authorities that will appear on tax bills.

"We're proud of our department heads for holding the line on spending with many of them coming in under budget," District 4 Commissioner Patrick Bell said. "Because of them, we were able to keep the same effective millage rate with no noticeable increase in service to the citizens."

Hal Schneider July 23, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Bill, you need to correct your raw water rate. we pay $0.10 per thousand gallons for raw water up to a daily average of 14MGD. Then we are required to buy an average of 4.5MGD of finished water at $2.25 per thousand gallons. THEN, if we need more (above a total of 18.5MGD), we would buy additional raw water at $1.25 per thousand gallons (or 12.5 times as much than for the first 14MGD). At any rate, I am hopeful that the Mayor's greed creates an impasse. Steps are about to be taken to prevent the county from making any further payments to the city since there is currently no IGA and the water department has no proper authorization to pay any bills sent to the county for water from the city. We'll see how long the city holds out when they are no longer getting paid!
RELENTLESS July 23, 2012 at 01:41 AM
I warned you that Boff was "fed up". If a fair agreement is not reached this week, my attorney, Frank Jenkins, will see to it that these proceedings will be moved to a different branch of the government where the residents of Forsyth County should get a better result. Frank is itching to get back in the frey here -- down boy! I'll hold him back as long as feasible.
Ron Seder July 23, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Since when are prices of intergovernmental services based on free market principles? The free market works great for all of us when there is sufficient competition, but it is miserable when a supplier of goods or services has an unregulated monopoly. Do not be fooled by an advisor, hired by the city, concluding that the city is losing money on its water sales to the county. The city produces finished water for much less than $1.00 per 1000 gallons and charges the county $2.43. If the county finished the water, rather than the city, the cost to the county would also be much less than $1.00 per 1000 gallons. For decades the Mayor has had the advantage with the county on water rates, local option sales tax (LOST) splits and special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) splits, costing the county many many millions of dollars every year, because we continue to elect to the Board of Commissioners a majority who will follow the Mayor’s unjustified directions.
Bill July 24, 2012 at 09:46 AM
Thank you, Hal. It has now been corrected. And, thanks for keeping up with this issue.

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