Clayton County water rates going up in January

MORROW — Clayton County water customers will pay 5 percent more for water Jan. 1, a hike needed to offset operating costs and declining sales, said officials.

CCWA spokeswoman Suzanne Brown said the Clayton County Water Authority Board of Directors has approved a 5 percent adjustment for all water and sewer base rates and usage charges to offset rising operating, energy and constructions costs while water sales continue to decline. Brown said the new rates will affect all residential and commercial customers and will begin with usage on Jan. 1. The new rates will be reflected in the February bills.

Brown said customers are continuing to get a bargain, however.

“Even with this rate adjustment, CCWA rates remain significantly lower than most in the metro Atlanta area,” she said.

P. Michael Thomas, CCWA general manager, said the impact to customers will depend on the amount of water they use each month.

“Our average residential customer with water and sewer service uses 4,000 gallons a month,” he said. “This rate adjustment will mean a $2.21 increase in their monthly bill.”

Single-family residential customers who are part of Tier 1, which reflects a usage of 1,000 to 3,000 gallons, will pay $2.32 per 1,000 gallons. Customers in Tier 2 using 4,000 to 7,000 gallons will be charged $5.57 per 1,000 gallons. Tier 3 customers who use 8,000 to 20,000 gallons will pay $6.89 per 1,000 gallons. Customers in Tier 4, who use more than 20,000 gallons, will pay $8.27 per 1,000 gallons.

Single-family residential sewer customers in Tier 1, using 1,000 to 3,000 gallons, will pay $2.49 per 1,000 gallons. Customers who use more than 3,000 gallons will pay $5.85 per 1,000 gallon.

Brown said the new base rate for water for single-family residential customers will be $9.85 and the new base rate for sewer for single-family residential customers will be $10.42. Stormwater fees will remain the same for all customers.

“Unlike many water providers, CCWA does not receive any tax dollars, operating solely on water, sewer and stormwater revenues,” said Brown. “The Authority has reduced chemical costs by changing some processes at its treatment plants and reduced the run time of one of its water production facilities by eliminating a second shift.”

Thomas said operating expenses were reduced last year but overall water usage is down.

“We reduced our operating expenses by 9 percent last fiscal year and continue to look for ways to operate more efficiently, but we continue to see a decline in water usage and our operating costs keep rising,” he said.

This rate adjustment is also needed to ensure that CCWA continues to comply with its bond debt covenants and with its “pay as you go” strategy to maintain and invest in its infrastructure so additional bond debt is not needed, said Brown.

“It is vital that CCWA remains proactive about maintaining its 1,500 miles of water lines and 1,300 miles of sewer lines, its three water reclamation facilities and three water production facilities,” said Thomas.

Being proactive also saves customers money, he said.

“We work hard to ensure our customers receive dependable, high quality water and wastewater services that protect public health and safety while keeping our rates reasonable,” said Thomas. “If we put off necessary maintenance in our system, it will cost our customers more in the long run.”

For additional information on the January 2014 water and sewer rates, call 770-960-5200 or visit www.ccwa.us.