City and county to meet in court december 13
fly for tots a soaring success
Pictured in front of the toys that were donated at this year’s Fly for Tots held Saturday at the
T-U Airport are Greg Blosser, Donna Turner and Tracy Harrison with Toys for Tots,
West Central Georgia Flying Club President Doug Durand, Kristi and Jeff Hayes with their children, Emmie Kate and Hayden, Benny Tucker and Ryan Fulghum.
See Full Story and Photos in Lifestyles
Utility Rate Increases Proposed for City Residents
Water, Sewage, Electricity, Garbage
By Matt Sharpe
City of Thomaston residents may see an increase in their city utility bills starting in January.
During the City Council’s first work session for the 2014 budget held Dec. 3, it was suggested by City Manager Patrick Comiskey that increases be implemented in 2014 for water/sewer, electricity and garbage. The increases for water and sewage were due to a 38 percent difference in usage between 2007 and 2013. The increase for electricity comes from MEAG increasing their cost of electricity to the City of Thomaston. The increase in the sanitation fund will help build the account to where it is self stainable.
The amount of increase for water and sewage was proposed at .50 cents per 1,000 gallons of usage for water and .45 cents per 1,000 gallons for sewage. The increase is estimated at $4.75 more per month per household. Projected revenue was based on 385 million gallons of usage. The increases will generate $190,000 for water and $150,000 for sewage. Total projected budget for the water fund is $5.2 million.
A total of $800,000 will be transferred over from the city’s electric fund to the water/sewer fund. That money will be used for rehabilitation of the Davis Lake water tank. The amount to refurbish the tank is estimated at $600,000. Davis and Woodlawn roads/streets will be seeing new water lines being installed. The projects are estimated at $100,000. Filters and valves replacement at the water plant is currently underway. Total cost of the project was $150,000. Roughly $50,000 was spent in 2013 for the project with the remainder of the project to be complete in 2014. Relocation of water lines in the Silvertown/West Village area is up next. Water lines and meters will be moved from the back alleys to the front of houses, and the sidewalks will be redone during the project. Just over 350 houses will be impacted with the project. The project is estimated at $500,000.
The City did save money on water projects through debt reduction with the refinancing of public bonds through a private carrier. Roughly $80,000 per year was saved by refinancing. A project from 1992 has been paid off as well. A $3 million dollar bond for a project at the Thomaston Mills Sewer Plant had to be picked up by the City in 2001 after the mill closed. The Mill was paying the City for the project as the funds were part of a Federal Grant, but when it was closed, the City had to continue paying the payment.
Half of energy to Thomaston comes from nuclear power plants. The bill from MEAG (Municipal Assoc. of Georgia) to the City of Thomaston is estimated at $11.4 million. The amount represents a 5.7 percent increase from the previous year. Based on kilowatt usage vs. revenue, Comiskey proposed an increase 6.5 percent increase for residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The increase would generate roughly $750,000 and offset the 5.7 percent increase and cover the loss the city has taken since the increases began that weren’t passed on to the residents. Total operating budget for the electric fund will be $15.3 million. Purchase of electricity is the biggest item in the budget. Comiskey stated that they are looking at an increase of $10.9 million to $11.5 million. He added that the city traditionally transfers $1.1 million from the electric fund to the general fund. Last year the funds were used to cover milling and paving work and approximately $500,000 was used to renovate the old City Hall building (the building is currently being rented by the State). The funds are usually used for operating costs in the general funding, but last year the city was not able to do that. The city will continue with their tree trimming project on right of ways. This year the project will include clearing the right of way from South Green Street to the Town Branch Sewer Plant. A total of $55,000 is allocated for transformers.
It was proposed by Comiskey that an increase of .75 per household and a four percent increase on commercial accounts be implemented for the sanitation fund. The City of Thomaston’s contract is with TransWaste and in annual contract is just over $1 million. Comiskey said that during 2011 and 2012 the city had to transfer money from the general fund to sanitation fund. The increase would allow the city to have funds in the sanitation fund to keep from borrowing from the general fund. The sanitation fund budget is projected at $1.66 million.
City residents saw an increase in their water, sewer, and electricity bills in January of 2013. At that time, Thomaston residents and businesses owners saw an increase of 35 cents per 1,000 gallons for water and 30 cents per 1,000 gallons for sewer. Based on the average household using approximately 5,000 gallons per month, the customer saw an increase of $3.25 per month increase for water and sewer. The electricity rates increased by 5.5 percent for residential and commercial accounts (the percentage for electricity was based on 1,000 per kilowatts per household). There was no increase for sanitation.
No votes were cast at the meeting. The city will hold public hearings for the 2014 proposed budget Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12 at noon, Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 30 at noon the 2014 budget will be officially adopted.
Armstrong School of Dance Presents
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Christmas Lane (R Street)
A Country Christmas in Lights Drive-Through
at The Rock Ranch
Breakfast with Santa
at The Rock Ranch
Candy Cane Christmas Festival at Westwood Christian Academy December 14
Photos with Santa
at United Bank
8th Annual Toys for Tots Jam Set December 18-20
2013 Christmas Kitchen at East Thomaston Baptist Church