PTC Council ready to overhaul sewer board

At its meeting Thursday night, the Peachtree City Council is poised to appoint three brand-new members to the city’s Water and Sewer Authority, which would constitute a majority on the five-member WASA board.

In January, council balked at a recommendation to reappoint current WASA board member Tim Meredith as they moved to fill two other seats on WASA that were vacated by resignations.

Meredith would be off the board if the recommendations of the WASA interview committee are approved. That committee recommended replacing Meredith with business executive John Cheatham and also appointing retired technology manager John Harrell and “semi-retired” financial planner Terry Garlock to the other two vacant WASA seats.

Although WASA board members are appointed by council, the WASA board is a separate fiscal component and is not part of city government. WASA’s board makes decisions on rates and fees along with staffing levels and infrastructure repairs, as well as day-to-day operations through General Manager Stephen Hogan.

In advocating against Meredith’s reappointment in January, Councilman Eric Imker specifically cited the October 2010 sewer rate increase adopted by WASA that gave most residential customers an increase of $20 a month or more.

WASA enacted the increase after its revenue had dropped to the point where it once had to take $400,000 from its reserves to pay its annual debt service. Prior to the refinancing, WASA had to meet an annual debt service of $3.24 million to cover the previous expansion of the city’s sewage treatment capacity.

The dry weather and accompanying drought leading into late 2010 was blamed for much of WASA’s revenue drop, though part of it was related to the loss of one of the city’s largest sewer customers, Photocircuits, which closed in 2006.

In other business, council is expected to vote to spend $296,827 to purchase and equip seven 2013 Chevrolet Caprice patrol cars. The cars would be purchased from low bidder All-Pro Auto Group at $27,117 each with the aftermarket accessories added to each car at a cost of $15,405 by TransComm Services.

The aftermarket accessories include the emergency light system, sirens, prisoner cages, equipment and consoles, radars, gun mounts and push bumper.

The bids came in over budget by $10,703, which would be cut in half by shifting funds from a proposed replacement of a command police vehicle.

In a memo to council Friday, city staff said the vehicles are necessary to keep the police fleet from having vehicles that exceed 100,000 miles. After the purchase, the police department will reassign seven of the older patrol cars to the auxiliary force, code enforcement and to its pool, which will allow for the elimination of the other 2003 Ford Crown Victorias that were serving in those roles.

The department is also removing three other vehicles from its fleet that were used for detectives and administrative staff that are not considered safe to operate for emergency vehicle response.

Council also is expected to approve a staff recommendation to replace the roof over the Peachtree City Library for $261,470 with $100,000 of the total to be reimbursed by the state of Georgia through a state grant program. The city’s share of the project will come from the facilities authority bond that was issued last year.

The total project price was the lowest of four bids received by the city, proposed by Rycars Construction Inc.

Also Thursday night, council will vote on a staff proposal to spend $72,035 for emergency repairs to a stormwater pipe that runs underneath Hippocket Road. The pipe has failed in multiple locations and was discovered as a sinkhole in the front yard of 1104 Hippocket, officials said.