Canton Chief Financial Officer Nathan Ingram recommended to the city council in a meeting Wednesday morning that they vote for an increase in rates for Canton water customers 4.5 percent each year for the next five years.
The increase would help the city in funding several ongoing and upcoming water and sewer projects that Canton Utilities Manager David Hatabian said are necessary.
City Manager Scott Wood told the council that increasing water rates gradually would be more effective and less controversial than previous increases, which have been more drastic.
“It’s a lot easier to address (this issue) if you address it in a multi-year fashion,” he said.
Among the projects the rate hike will help fund is a series of renovations to Canton’s waste water treatment plant on Marietta Highway, a project which Hatabian said is to cost the city upwards of $7.125 million.
To pay for the construction, Ingram said the city is seeking out a loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.
Should GEFA approve the loan at its board meeting later this month, construction on the facility is hoped to begin Oct. 1 and will take about two years to complete, Hatabian said.
Hatabian said renovations to the facility are necessary, because GDNR’s Environmental Protection Division issued a consent order to the city in 2011, charging the city with permit violations for exceeding allowed water flow amounts and phosphorous and ammonia levels.
Since then, Canton has been regularly fined varying amounts, Hatabian said.
Canton will continue to incur fines from GDNR until the renovations are complete and the facility is no longer in violation, Hatabian said after the meeting Wednesday.
“As long as you’re in violation,” Hatabian said, “they’ll keep fining you.”
Councilman Jack Goodwin said the 4.5 percent increase would cost the average resident about $3 more each month on their bill.