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City adopts sewer rate ordinance amendment

By BETH ALSTON
beth.alston@americustimesrecorder.com
www.americustimesrecorder.com

AMERICUS — The Americus Mayor and City Council met at 5 p.m. Thursday for the regular monthly session, having set the agenda last week.
The City considered changing the way sewer bills are calculated. Rather than based on an average, the bills will now reflect how much water is used that goes into the sewer system.
The matter was discussed at length during the agenda setting session the previous week.
City Manager Steve Kennedy said the new billing mode will mean between $400,000 and $500,000 in revenues for the enterprise fund, representing 3.2 mills in taxes.
Council member Shirley Green Reese said she had heard from several of her constituents that they are against a change. She said her constituents don’t believe the new rate is fair because when they water their gardens, lawns and flowers, that water doesn’t go into the sewer system. She also expressed the opinion that it’s “not right to make a profit of our water or sewer funds,”  because the City requires citizens to have water and sewer services.
At Thursday’s meeting, the Council adopted the change in a 5-1 vote with Council members Carla Cook, Nelson Brown, Walton Grant, Lou Chase and Juanita Wilson voting for, and Council member Reese voting against.
The following items were approved on the consent agenda for Thursday.
• Writing down $85,058 in delinquent utility bills. Diadra Powell, City CFO, explained that efforts are being made to contact everyone on the list and they have recovered some of the money already.
• Request for the City to act as fiscal agent for the Americus-Sumter County Land Bank.
• Sending a participation letter to the Wells Fargo Community and Urban Stabilization Program so the land bank has the opportunity to acquire property which has been foreclosed on.
• The 2016 Health Insurance Benefit Schedule and related contribution levels.
In other business, Honorary Council member Tom Harrison was presented with the proclamation from Mayor Barry Blount. The mayor administered the oath of office to George Laurin, who was recently appointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Diadra Powell, finance director, accepted a a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. Blount commented that this was the “27th or 28th” year the City has received this recognition.