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County fees to increase in 2013

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Taxes aren't the only government payments expected to go up in 2013.

Residents can also expect to pay more for water and sewer services and 911 fees, along with the assessments for street lights going up.

"Generally, the impact on the average household will be relatively minor," Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said of the increases, two of which were recently approved by commissioners to balance costs and revenues.

The fee structure for streetlights, which are added to taxpayer bills through a petitioning process, should have been adjusted earlier, Nash noted, since rising energy costs have already caused officials to dip into reserve funds.

The average increase is only about $4.50 for a resident with underground poles, $5.38 for overhead poles, and simply match the actual costs incurred.

The 911 fee, which affects more residents, was hit under the county's service delivery settlement with local cities. Nash said some cities considered opening their own Public Safety Answering Point for 911 calls, but the county wanted to continue to be the sole provider, so emergency calls, especially for Fire and Emergency Services, remained smooth.

"To prevent the splitting of 911 communications into multiple centers, we agreed to pay the cost of dispatch for cities with their own police departments and to provide updated equipment to them as well," Nash said. "This increased 911 costs by $3 million a year and created a gap between revenues and expenditures. Our only viable option was to increase 911 fees sufficiently to close this gap."

In November, commissioners approved a two-step increase, beginning in January, which will take the county to the maximum fees allowed by the state in 2015.

Years ago, commissioners set a schedule to increase water and sewer fees, which includes a jump in January.

The rates "are intended to cover the impact of annual cost increases for basic components, such as energy and chemicals, of providing water and sewer services," Nash said. The rates can be found at www.gwinnetth2o.com.

Overall, the fees do not indicate an increased reliance on user fees, since these have been in place for years, Nash said.

"We do continue to look for services where a user fee may be appropriate as a funding source," she added. "The rate increases described above will impact Gwinnett residents and businesses based on the services they receive and their volume of usage. For example, the 911 fee will be applied to each phone line used by a resident or business. Thus, those paying the fees have some ability to control what they pay by controlling their usage of the service."

Comments

R 1 year, 3 months ago

Water and Sewer rates increasing? Of course they are, the more we conserve, the less is sold so we have to maintain the same fiscal flow ...

Why are we driving OUR county resident cost up to subsidize cities 911 operations? Let them pay US if its REALLY cheaper for the county to run it!

If it ISN'T, then UNWIND our position in the operations. The county tax digest is DROPPING every time these cities EXPAND or are created. Do we have corresponding adjustments?

We just heard the City of Berkley Lake give a reason for proposed residents to support annexation because the city charges LOWER fees than the county... I guess they can if the unincorporated residents pay even MORE...

Soon Peachtree Corners will say the same for trash there, so the rest of the unincorporated residents will pay EVEN more then...

Every phone number in the region including cellphones is charged better than a dollar a month, if you have more than one line (And if reports are accurate based on Gwinnett County Schools most families have multiple numbers of phones) just how much more do you REALLY need? Or are we paying for additional staff to collect the increased charges?

That DAMN trash plan has apparently set one heck of a bad precedent for us all, WE DON'T want to continue paying expensive PREMIUMS to balance "revenue". Treat government operations like the business you claim to and begin to consolidate around actual, critical core services and LIQUIDATE the rest NOW!

Or to be HEARD are residents going to have launch ANOTHER wasteful SDS style lawsuit so WE the little fish can get relief? Lest you've heard, there's a drought on and the pond you draw from is getting shallower by the minute...

We promise we won't be calling local 911 when we go over the fiscal cliff.

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

Government offices have more than one phone line. I guess we will be subsidizing those extra fees as well.

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

People of Gwinnett. You must vote with your money. "Never re-elect anyone" has to be the motto. They all think we won't remember these tax increases come next election! Why don't we have the previous "citizen group" to study more cuts? I guess the BOC has disbanded them once and for all. This BOC will just not make the drastic cuts that may be needed. We keep plowing our tax money into their fat pensions. The BOC works for us, not the other way around. We demand cuts to personnel. Nash, get with the program and stop being a "turncoat.".

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jack 1 year, 3 months ago

Much more difficult to install and maintain.

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R 1 year, 3 months ago

Well middle earth needs light too...

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SuxBeanU 1 year, 3 months ago

okay , where is the switch? I want to turn off my street light if it's not being used.Thats what I do at home, if nobody is in the room I turn off the light. our neighborhood has a streetlight every 20' let's actually see how many of these lights are necessary for safety sake

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BufordGuy 1 year, 3 months ago

The government should NEVER collect fees fro private entities--whether that be trash companies or electric companies. Imagine losing your house because you didn't pay for your streetlight.

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

Funny that Gwinnett stopped providing all those expensive services to the other cities now, but they have elected to keep all those extra County workers on the payroll for you to pay for them. Figure that one out. I'll do everything in my power to get all the members of this BOC ousted, including Nash, the Democrat that goes by the title Republican. Haven't you seen enough of their damage control at work yet? More money to spend, not more to cut. This BOC refuses to make personnel cuts because they mean votes for them. Seniors will be taking the largest hit. Water & sewer rates have been going up every year except 2008 & 2009. Don't buy this statement that they need all this for repairs. What repairs? I guess they have used the past year's fees from us to pay for other things besides sewer repairs.

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Why_not 1 year, 3 months ago

By "all those expensive services" I assume you mean police services. I am pretty sure all the other services a still provided to those cities. As far as water rates, I am pretty sure my monthly water bill is among the lowest in the metro area. You keep insisting that the county trim the roles of workers but you never give any examples of where there cuts should be made. Just another example of Kevin enjoying himself while posting mindless garble.

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kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

My friend, Nash would not provide me with inside info to do that. That is why we need the public "volunteer" board to again start investigating for cuts. It worked a few years ago. Why won't Nash empower them again? Is she that scared to focus on cuts for votes? She is a Democrat using the title Republican. And yes, it would be a crime for Gwinnett taxpayers to have to cover the personnel expenses to provide services to other counties that have their own people. I guess you enjoy that double-taxation,why_not!

A government is supposed to make a budget based on revenue and expenses. This is a two-way street, not just a revenue "street." There has to be limits placed on taxation or business will suffer in the long run. I know that Liberals do not want to see that philosophy.

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R 1 year, 3 months ago

Here's a cut those associated with the NEW trashplan...
You know the central number that's NEVER open anyway.

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Ashley 1 year, 3 months ago

Fees are the new name for taxes? Strange that all of our "fees" are going up right after the election.

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R 1 year, 3 months ago

They went up before the election too, we haven't even changed the rate of ascent yet.

I can' wait until the masses start getting plates for vehicles in 2013...

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