The Barrow County Water and Sewerage Authority voted Tuesday night to form a committee to look into hiring an attorney, apparently for the upcoming renegotiations of wholesale water contracts with Auburn, Braselton, Statham and Winder. Three of the four contracts already are up for renewal, and the fourth must be put in place next year.
WSA chairman Stan Coley told the authority that he would schedule a called meeting of the authority in a couple of weeks when he is ready to make a recommendation about the new rate.
Most of the cities currently pay a rate of $1.60 per 1,000 gallons of water from the Bear Creek Reservoir. Water director Myron Garrett has said for years that the rate does not provide enough revenue to cover the authority’s costs of buying and distributing the water.
Coley said he is still reviewing the existing contracts and numbers. He said he would try to come up with a rate recommendation that would be fair to both the WSA and the cities.
Also Tuesday night, Garrett provided an update of the progress on the water authority’s new offices. Sometime this summer, the water and wastewater departments are going to relocate to the former Holensbeck Fire Station near the intersection of Jefferson Highway and Highway 211.
Garrett said the front of the building has been bricked in and a metal porch installed, and most of the interior renovations such as wiring, HVAC and insulation and sheetrock installation are complete. He said the contractor had submitted a second funding request, that one for $58,000.
The biggest challenge in the coming move from Lanthier Street to the renovated office space is technological. That involves not only the billing system and other internal and external communications, but also the technology that keeps the water distribution system ope