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May 16, 2013

 IS THE CITY OF MONTICELLO RUNNING OUT OF WATER?

If you attend any of the JCWSA meetings you may be led to believe that the City of Monticello is in desperate need of water.  


JCWSA member, Ken McMichael
has questioned the city of Monticello's water capabilities in three meetings.  After the January JCWSA meeting the City sent a letter to the JCWSA stating their water sources and to "lessen the concerns" of JCWSA members. 

CityLetter

At the March meeting, Mr. McMichael again gave his reasons as to why the City did not have enough water and ignored the details in the letter.  Watch the video here:    JCWSA says they have longer term perspective than City

Frank Sherrill, JCWSA engineer, was at the May JCWSA meeting and gave a presentation about the possible well sites in the Cedar Creek area. His plan was to have JCWSA buy options on each site and then purchase a 1 acre site around the well if they produced water.  He said if any of them panned out that JCWSA could possibly "sell water to the City at a cheaper rate than the City could produce it."  He also mentioned "helping the City out" and the good quality of the water that would come out of the wells.   

Each well option would cost approximately $15,000, but no one that owns the land where these sites are located has expressed much interest.  Looking at the sites on the map, it would be difficult to sell only 1 acre of the large plot of land without ruining the future use of all the land.  It was not discussed as to where the $15,000 per well option would come from.  (This map is produced from memory of the presentation.  The well site on the far left may be further down into the same parcel with the 2nd from the left site.)  The parcel highlighted is the parcel JCWSA seems most interested in.
Cedar Creek Well Sites

JCWSA has long had money problems and have just borrowed more money from the Bank of Monticello so they could pay off a long outstanding loan from the Butts Co WSA.  At a recent BOC meeting, Mark Walton of JCWSA, presented the BOC with another "bill" showing how much JCWSA says the county owes them.   This bill was over $94,000 and included both the 2009 amount ($42,982 that was not approved by the BOC) and the 2013 bill that will be billed by the Tax Commissioner in July ($41,896).  

The BOC approved a "Fire District Tax" to help JCWSA pay for  hydrant maintenance a few years ago.  People along the water lines pay a tax of approximately $23 per year that is on their tax bill.  This will be discussed at the next BOC where the rate will be set for the next tax bill.  The rate last year was set to bring in $46,266.  The additional money (above what is "owed") is to pay the back amounts due--this according to both Mr. Salmon and Mr. Trammell that served on the JCWSA--when a new, higher rate was approved by the BOC.  However, this tax revenue has not stopped JCWSA from billing the county and trying to get the BOC to pay out more money.

See discussion of fire district tax rate here at the 5/13/13 BOC meeting.

Setting JCWSA fire district tax

Is a higher rate going to be approved to pay for wells to help supply the City?  Does the City need extra water?  Are the hydrants being maintained with the money collected?  How much more debt is JCWSA considering adding? These are questions that should be answered at the joint BOC /JCWSA meeting on May 21 at 6:30PM.





TWG
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