By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Council OKs water, sewer rate increase
Placeholder Image
    The Statesboro City Council unanimously voted at Tuesday’s meeting to raise water and sewer rates for city residents and anyone else utilizing city water and sewer services.
    For city residents, base rates will rise from $4.60 to $6.00 for both water and sewer service. In addition, per 1,000 gallon rates will rise because of mandates by the State of Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division. They required the city to create a conservation oriented rate structure, which will charge customers who use more water to pay higher rates.
    Wayne Johnson, director of water and wastewater services, said the impact on the majority of residents will be rather minimal. He said that 50 percent of customers used less than 3,000 gallons of water per month. Those customers will see their monthly bill rise by $4.48.
    The city will apply the new rates to the next billing cycle. Johnson said city workers will read the meters this month and the current rates will apply for April’s water usage. The bills that go out in June, which will charge residents for their May water and sewer usage, will have the new rates applied.
    During staff reports, Statesboro Fire Chief Dennis Merrifield made a presentation to council about the increasing problem of false alarms within the city and the five mile radius around the city, which the fire department covers.
    Merrifield said that overall calls to the fire department have dropped each year since 2006, but false alarms have risen each year over the same time period. If trend for the first quarter of 2009 hold for the rest of the year, Merrifield said false alarms could account for more than 45 percent of the fire department’s calls.
    False alarms are broken into three categories. The first is prank calls, or individuals deliberately pulling fire alarms. Next is malfunctions, which are caused by equipment failures. Last is unintentional false alarms, which are typically caused by contractors who work on fire systems but neglected to notify the fire department or by individuals creating smoky conditions (i.e. burning popcorn or floor sanders), which causes the alarm to go off.
    Merrifield said the fire department spends $700 to respond to these alarms. More importantly, he stressed, was that when the fire department responds to false alarms, valuable personnel and equipment are temporarily unavailable to respond to a real emergency at that time.
    Merrifield presented the council with suggestions for changing the city’s fire code and ordinances to address the issue and reduce the amount of false alarm calls in the city. Council took no action regarding his suggestions at Tuesday’s meeting.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter