Local News

November 19, 2013

No rate increases in Dalton Utilities budget

Dalton property owners won’t be paying any stormwater fees just yet.

The Dalton Utilities board unanimously approved a $186 million operating budget for 2014 but not before tabling a proposal that would have created the city’s first stormwater utility fees. Under that proposal, residential properties would have been charged a flat $3.25 fee a month, while commercial property rates would have been based on the amount of impermeable surface on the property.

Board Chairman Tom Pendley said the utility does need to develop a way to fund maintenance of the city’s stormwater infrastructure. But he said the utility and the City Council still need to develop a “consensus” on the nature of that funding.

The City Council gave the utility responsibility for managing stormwater runoff inside Dalton four years ago, and since that time utility officials have said they need a dedicated revenue source to fund that work. They currently use revenues from their other business lines to fund those repairs.

The 2014 budget contains no rate increases or new fees. But it does change the way the utility charges for water and wastewater. It currently bills for blocks of 10,000 gallons for residential users and 50,000 gallons for commercial users. The budget would drop those blocks to 7,500 and 25,000 gallons respectively. Officials said that most residential users use less than 7,500 gallons, so most users will see no price increase. Residential users who use between 7,500 gallons and 15,000 gallons a month will see their monthly bill for water climb by a little over $1 and their monthly bill for wastewater grow by a little over $2.

Board members also agreed to put out for bids an extension of sewer to the Engineered Floors plant under construction off Carbondale Road. The estimated cost of that work is $1.75 million, which will be covered by Whitfield County.

And they also agreed to put out for bid the second phase of guy and anchor replacement for the utility’s Carter’s Dam-Nelson transmission line. The projected cost of that work is $1.455 million.

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