Cobb County residents will see an 11% rate increase in their water bills beginning Jan. 1, their first rate increase in three years.

The Cobb Board of Commissioners approved the rate increase at their meeting this week, in a 4-1 vote with Commissioner JoAnn Birrell opposed. Water System Director Judy Jones estimated the average customer would see their monthly rate increase by $5.43 to $54.85, from a current average of $49.42.

Rates for residential customers vary based on how much water they use, but Jones said Cobb will still boast the lowest water rate of any locale in the metro Atlanta area. Residents of Cobb’s cities continue to enjoy a slightly lower rate than their peers in unincorporated Cobb, because the cities handle stormwater duties.

Birrell’s opposition was based on the county continuing to transfer 8% of the water system’s revenues into the county general fund. As long as the county continues such a transfer, she said, she could not support approving the rate.

The rate increase, Jones added in an agenda item, is needed to offset lost revenues and rising operating costs. Cobb’s fiscal 2022 budget, which takes effect Oct. 1, anticipates a 1.6% decrease in water fund revenues over the previous year.

“Even with the proposed rate adjustment,” Jones wrote, “customers pay a little more than $1.20 for the delivery of 100 gallons of water to their homes, removal of the water once used, reclamation of the water through treatment to a very high standard, and return of the resource to either Allatoona Lake or the Chattahoochee River where it is available for further use and enjoyment.”

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Cliff Biggers

Thanks to Commissioner Birrell for taking a stand for county taxpayers. It's a shame she's the only commissioner who did.

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