Lilburn joins county stormwater utility

LILBURN - The Lilburn City Council approved a measure Monday that will make the city one of the first to join the newly developed Gwinnett County Stormwater Utility.

The council had discussed options regarding stormwater for several months before opting to go with the county. The intergovernmental agreement approved at Monday's meeting will allow Gwinnett County to charge a stormwater utility fee to Lilburn residents. The fee will be based on each property owners amount of impervious service and be used to fund stream restoration, pipe replacement, and retention ponds.

"We have been debating this for the past several months," council member Ken Swaim said. "We decided in the work session to go with the county."

Gwinnett County set a deadline of July 1 for the 15 cities located within the county to decide if they were going to be a part of the county utility or come up with another plan for handling stormwater system repairs. The council considered other options such as joining other cities to form a utility separate from the county or creating its own city stormwater utility. The council decided these options would not be cost effective.

The downside of a county utility is the city will have to rely on Gwinnett to set the priority level and complete stormwater system repairs. Also, questions about customer service, Federal Environmental Protection requirements and liability issues have yet to be answered.

"The good thing is that if we don't like the way the utility is going, we can opt out at any time," council member Scott Batterton said.

Council approves budget and millage rate

The council also approved the city's millage rate and operating budget for the coming year. The city's 2006-07 budget will be $6,587,361 and the millage rate will remain at 4.26.

"This budget is in keeping with the council's conservative fiscal policy," City Manager Tom Combiths said.

Although remaining the same, the millage rate is considered an increase in revenue for the city because of property revaluation and population increases. The council held three public hearings and received no opposition.

In other business, the Lilburn City Council:

•Approved sending the city's zoning map to the Planning Commission for further action regarding last month's approval of a special-use permit for Lilburn Motor Sales on U.S. Highway 29. The property covers three separate zoning classifications, one of which does not allow a SUP for auto repair.

•Approved new stoplight caperas for U.S. Highway 29 at Rockbridge Road.

•Approved an increase in cost from the city's garbage company United Waste not to exceed 6 percent. United had requested a 9.9 percent increase.