So­cial Cir­cle City Coun­cil votes to cut water, sewer fees for busi­nesses

The Covington News - - News - JAY JONES Spe­cial to The News

The So­cial Cir­cle City Coun­cil ap­proved to tem­po­rary cut water and sewer fees in half to spur home con­struc­tion.

Builders will now pay $2,000 for water and $2,250 for sewer tap fees for new homes us­ing 5/8-inch water line in­side city lim­its be­tween now and Septem­ber. So­cial Cir­cle Mayor Hal Dally said be­fore Tues­day’s coun­cil meet­ing that builders ap­proached the city seek­ing a break on the fees.

“Other cities are do­ing this to give a lit­tle re­lief, and we want to do that and make sure they build here and stim­u­late our lo­cal econ­omy,” Dally said.

New res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion is tar­geted specif­i­cally for Wind­song and Town Park sub­di­vi­sions to com­plete build out for those neigh­bor­hoods. Over­all, So­cial Cir­cle’s in­ven­tory of res­i­den­tial va­cancy stands at 3.3 per­cent, which Dally said the city was “in pretty good shape” com­pared to other com­mu­ni­ties.

Coun­cil­man Steve Shel­ton in­cluded com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial prop­er­ties in his mo­tion to ap­prove the tap fee re­duc­tion. He said the same break should also be ap­plied to new busi­nesses.

Dally of­fered to han­dle busi­ness tap fees on a caseby-case ba­sis, but Shel­ton said no.

“I don’t want to hold them up. If that’s go­ing to make them come here, then do it all the same — cut it in half,” Shel­ton said. “We can reeval­u­ate in six months.”

The coun­cil voted unani- mously with no other dis­cus­sion.

The re­duc­tion in tap fees for busi­nesses will vary based on the size of line used. For a new busi­ness on a 1-inch water line, the tap fee will be $3,750 com­pared to $7,500. For a 2inch water line, the re­duced tap fee is $12,000 com­pared to $24,000.

City pushes nat­u­ral gas

So­cial Cir­cle joined a low­cost loan pro­gram through the Mu­nic­i­pal Gas Au­thor­ity of Ge­or­gia for nat­u­ral gas cus­tomers to fi­nance new gas ap­pli­ances. Any­one who has owned a home for two years and has a good pay­ment his­tory with the city is el­i­gi­ble for a loan of up to $5,000 at zero per­cent in­ter­est for 60 months.

Some coun­cil mem­bers expressed con­cern over li­a­bil­ity for man­ag­ing a loan pro­gram. Scott Tolle­son, MGAG mem­ber man­ager, ex­plained to the coun­cil how any loan de­faults would be cov­ered by the au­thor­ity’s re­volv­ing fund for the loan pro­gram.

Tolle­son said the pur­pose of the pro­gram is not to make money but to en­cour­age res­i­dents to switch util­i­ties from elec­tric and propane to nat­u­ral gas. Ex­ist­ing nat­u­ral gas cus­tomers can also ap­ply for a loan through the pro­gram to up­grade ap­pli­ances.

Pay­ments on the loan are in­cluded on the city’s monthly util­ity bill un­til the bal­ance is paid off, Tolle­son said.

Es­say con­test win­ners

Lo­cal stu­dent Slate All­good was named the win­ner of the an­nual “If I was Mayor for a Day” es­say con­test by the Ge­or­gia Mu­nic­i­pal As­so­ci­a­tion and lo­cally ad­min­is­tered by So­cial Cir­cle’s Bet­ter Home­town pro­gram.

Run­ners up are Jay Ken­dall More­house, Erin Mead­ows and Mark Slaugh­ter. The con­test is open to sixth grade stu­dents. Re­gional es­say win­ners will at­tend a lun­cheon hosted by the GMA in At­lanta in April with their teach­ers, par­ents and may­ors.

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