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City Extends Cutoff Date of County's Raw Water Supply

Cumming mayor and council approve to extend the cutoff date of the county's raw water supply to Oct. 31.

It appears Forsyth County will have a little more time to continue purchasing its raw water from the city of Cumming beyond Oct. 1.

During Tuesday night's city council meeting, Mayor H. Ford Gravitt and council unanimously approved to extend the cutoff date of the county's raw water supply for at least another 30 days past the deadline.

Mayor Gravitt told Cumming Patch approval to extend the deadline was due to some issues that surfaced during the August city council meeting and Tuesday night's meeting.

"There were concerns about health issues and safety issues," he said. "And because of that Commissioner [Brian] Tam had requested, and this is his request, that the city of Cumming give an extension of the raw water from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31 if no contract during that period of time is agreed on."

The mayor said there would be "trial runs" between the city water department and the county during the 30-day extension.

"We're going to service the county during that period of time – have a trial run with our treated water to make sure that there is no issue as far as the city furnishing the county all the water they need through our treatment plant rather than out of Lake Lanier," Gravitt said.

A 25-year contract that governed the price and amount of water the city sells to the county expired in May. Cumming Mayor Ford Gravitt said the city will continue to sell the county treated water at a rate of $2.50 per 1,000 gallons, but will not sell raw water at the old rate of 10 cents per 1,000 gallons without a signed contract.

A mediation is scheduled for Oct. 15 and 16 in regards to the special one-percent sales tax (LOST) and to discuss the water contract.

"We're going to piggyback our LOST mediation with the water to see if we can get some kind of contract with the county," said Gravitt.

Revenue from the LOST tax is designed to be divided between the city and county (see the PDF file to the right for more details on LOST).

"Although I would prefer to do the water negotiations first and the LOST second," said Commissioner Todd Levent. "Because we have no assurance that they'll [city] be reasonable with the negotiations to water if we're reasonable with LOST."

Bill Johnson contributed to this article.

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Ron Seder September 19, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Both the water contract and the next Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) split will be considered in meetings on October 15 and 16. I suspect that timing is a city tactic to use the threat of shutting down the county raw water supply to get a larger share of the next LOST. The LOST is a lot of money and losing it, or again giving the city a much larger share than is deserved, has serious consequences for county property taxes. I urge the county to start pursuing legal action now. I do not think the county should wait for the city’s next threat, or allow the Mayor to set the timetable for county legal action.
Hal Schneider September 20, 2012 at 04:20 AM
The county should put off any further negotiations on water until after January 7th when Cindy J. Mills replaces Patrick Bell on the Board, and they should move forward IMMEDIATELY with petitioning the court for an injunction preventing the Mayor from turning off the raw water. The EPD has given the county a permit for up to 16MGD of raw water from the Lake and the Mayor has no authority to withhold that water from the county!
Jack Gleason September 21, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Cumming controls Forsyth County's portion of OUR Lake Lanier Water Storage Allocation (WSA) because it's "Superior" Population leveraged it 30 years ago when "Temporary" WSA's were being considered pending the Army Corp. of Engineers (ACE) proposed "revision" of Lake Lanier's "Operations Manual"...THAT is what started the "Tri-State Water Wars" AND stalled progress of that revision! Finally undertaken and completed recently, Forsyth County's population @ 178,000+ (projected to reach 340,000 by 2060)is far "Superior" the City of Cumming "Service Delivery-Network" @ +/- 28,000 which accounts for only 35% of all Forsyth County Water Use TODAY, thus it DESERVES its OWN "Permanent" WSA granted of that review...but that will NOT happen if Forsyth County remains "Subservient" ANY contract status-quo of its PREVIOUS "Water Relationship" had with the City of Cumming over the last three decades! That's WHY the Good Mayor of Cumming (GMC) and City of Cumming Council would much rather desire it, and therein lies the crux of the problem at hand! Of CRITICAL importance the People of ALL Forsyth County must recognize this "New Day" for ACE's completed "Review", that Forsyth County must NOT remain "Subservient" the City of Cummings "Enterprise System" being driven by the very monopolistic avarice and greed that divides Us today! ACE and EPD have always regarded the County and Cumming as PARTNERS providing OUR "State Waters" to ALL Forsyth County Citizen-Residents and Business!

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