Smyrna residents could see an increase in their water bills beginning July 1. At a Smyrna City Council Committee of the Whole meeting earlier this week, the body discussed passing an eight percent increase to the tiered water rates after the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority increased its rates earlier this year.
Smyrna buys its water wholesale from the water authority and then sells it to Smyrna citizens. In January, the water authority informed Smyrna officials that it was implementing an eight percent increase beginning Jan. 1, 2012. A representative from the water authority said the increase is scheduled for each year through 2018, but will be reviewed annually.
Until now, the city of Smyrna has absorbed the increase, but now Council must decide whether to pass that cost along to citizens at the start of FY 2013. If passed, the increase would only impact the tiered rates, not the base rate. To illustrate, at this time 3,000 gallons of water costs a Smyrna resident $23.25 per month. If the increase passes they'll pay $23.94 per month.
The increase would take effect July 1, six months before the Cobb Marietta Water Authority’s next eight percent increase in January. Ward 4 Councilman Charles “Corkey” Welch said it’s important that Council make the city’s increase match the water authority’s increase.
“My recommendation would be to make a motion that future Smyrna increases be made effective immediately upon Cobb County increases,” he said. “When January rolls around we shouldn’t absorb it. It’s not in our best interest to do that. It’s in our best interest to pass it along immediately to the citizens of Smyrna.”
In an email, Councilman Wade Lnenicka, Ward 6, said it’s likely an ordinance would be passed that mandates that future rate increase from the water authority be passed along to customers the same date the water authority’s increase is effective. If the ordinance passes, this means that Smyrnans will see another eight percent increase in January 2013.
Council will discuss the increase at Monday’s meeting at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall. Citizens will have the opportunity to sound off on the water increase and the rest of the at the public hearing held during that meeting.
What do you think about the proposed increase? Tell us in the comments.