PTC borrows $9.4M for stormwater projects; rates going up

The Peachtree City Council has authorized the issuance of $9.48 million in bonds to fund several large-scale capital stormwater projects and refinance the 2007 stormwater bonds at a lower interest rate.

To cover the financing payments, all city property owners will see a 137 percent increase in their annual stormwater bill. The new rates go into effect April 1.

Because the increase is so significant, the city plans to implement a billing system that will bill residents twice a year instead of once; the rate increase was approved by council Feb. 7.

By refinancing the 2007 bonds, the city achieved a savings of approximately $525,000 over the remaining 14 years on the payout schedule, according to Finance Director Paul Salvatore. The city got an effective interest rate of 3 percent on the bonds, officials said.

Council determined the $7.45 million in repairs under the bond were necessary for the protection of life and property. The projects include:
• $1.5 million to line stormwater pipes that run beneath city streets and roads, along with other miscellaneous projects;
• $1.8 million to replace the drain system in the Harbor Loop area;
• $1.3 million to replace the drain system in the Golfview Drive area;
• $1.2 million to rehabilitate the two Kedron ponds;
• $911,000 for rehabilitation of the Rockspray pond;
• $450,000 for pipe lining in the area of Woodsdale and Lenox Road; and
• $120,000 for repairs to the stilling basin at the BCS Pond.

The Kedron and Rockspray ponds are significant because they impound a tremendous amount of stormwater, and if their dams were breached it could result in the loss of life and property downstream, according to city staff.

The city projects these to be the only remaining significant capital projects, with no others anticipated in the future.

Because of the low interest rate, there will be more money available for other stormwater projects in future years, Salvatore said. Stormwater manager Mark Caspar said he doesn’t anticipate any more significant stormwater repairs in the city’s future, as the projects funded by this new bond will take care of all the large-scale problems with the stormwater system.

As for the increase on homeowners’ stormwater bills, it will depend on which of the three tiers their home is in based on the total impervious surface on the parcel.

Those in Tier I will see their bill rise from $32.28 to $76.68; Tier II rises from $47.40 to $112.69 and Tier III would rise from $72 to $171.24 a year. The fourth tier, for attached residential (AR) would rise from $22.20 to $52.68 a year.

The same 137 percent increase will be applied to businesses, schools and churches, many of whom will pay far more than the average homeowner because parking lots are included in the calculation of impervious space that ultimately determines the final bill charged to a given parcel.

Mayor Don Haddix, who voted against the stormwater rate increase two weeks ago, also voted against the bond refinancing. He has said previously that while he agrees the projects needed to be done, he couldn’t support the increase because of a lack of a comprehensive approach to reducing city taxes.