Roswell Water Plant Final Meeting

In the fall of 2009, I advised citizens about a unilateral decision the Roswell City Council was going to make. Well the clock is running and it appears that it will finally come to pass.

In the fall of 2009, I advised citizens about a unilateral decision the Roswell City Council was going to make. Well the clock has been running and it appears that it will finally come to pass. Council will make the final vote on Jan. 28 for a poorly planned and ill advised new water plant that will saddle a small segment of citizens with astronomical long-term expenses.

Click here to find the all the details regarding the upcoming meeting.

The real issue is far more than the location of a raw water tank in Waller Park or the fact that the city council has packed the new zoning ordinances with what amounts to preapproval for high-rise apartments and plans turning that park into a low-income housing project, negatively impact the residential community in close proximity to Waller Park.

The 15 percent of Roswell citizens who get their water from the city will be stuck with a $16 million construction bill and there is more to this number than meets the eye. It is not just about a $16 million bond you will be saddled with, but the reality is that the projected costs to city water customers over the next 20 years that will exceed $31 million according to the financial analysis conducted by the consulting firm Grisham, Smith and Partners!

Please think about this. In the last five years in excess of $3 million has been spent in repair, replacement and upgrading water lines in the affected area. That water distribution grid is an integral part of the Water Enterprise Fund which by state law must be funded by city water customers. The city has failed to inform their water customers of the implications of council's decisions with regard to the additional costs to maintaining hundreds of miles of the existing water distribution system.

I am convinced that the city administration and council are taking unfair advantage of many of its water customers living in some of the older parts of the city. One group consists of seniors who tend not very internet savvy or tapped into social media, and the other group are those living in the condos and apartments who tend to be disregarded by the city. This represents a significant demographic population of the city, and I believe that the city intentionally does not reach out to these citizens to make sure they understand the implications of council actions.

It is also interesting that the merchants and owners of restaurants in the area were never informed by the city of the implications of council's decisions with regard to replacing the existing water plant. Steve Stroud, who is the president of the Roswell Business Alliance (RBA), never called a meeting or sent an email advising RBA members who get their water from the city of the implications of this water treatment plant bond. Why not? Well, he works for the city!!

Stu Moring, Roswell City’s Environmental and Public Works Director stated in a recent article in the Neighbor newspaper, the city of Roswell’s legal instrument,  that:  

“The planned replacement of the city’s aging water plant will bump those rates a bit higher, although there are no firm estimates of how much. We don’t have an actual rate plan established for the future, but we do expect costs to increase about 1.5 to 2 percent per year, so at some point rates will need to cover that.”

Stu Moring is being deceptive when he states that there has not been any rate plan established. This statement is simply untrue, since he emphatically state during several public meetings last spring that for the life of the loan there would only be a $1 per month rate increase for water customers. He also failed to inform city water customers that the city of Roswell contracted with a very reputable engineering consulting firm (Grisham, Smith & Partners), who provided the city administration and city council a comprehensive Water System Master Plan in July 2010, in which costs were projected to increase 2-3 percent PER YEAR through 2040.

Mr. Moring’s recent public statement is simply a reaffirmation of that extensive analysis conducted in 2010.

Fulton County, which produced nearly 100 million gallons of water per day and has the lowest water rates in the metro area, will be reducing water rated by 5 percent. Yet the city of Roswell, which currently produces a fraction of the above amount produced by Fulton County, or slightly over 1 million gallons per day, refuses to be open, honest and transparent with their limited number of customers, straddling them with astronomical long-term debt that might likely have to be supplemented by all property owners in Roswell. The city Administration and city council wants you to buy into their plan that will raise your already high water rates even higher.

City water customers, I am sorry to tell you but the Roswell City Council
is unlikely to respond to signatures on a piece of paper. I would like to suggest that since this is your very last opportunity to challenge city council that you tell your friends and neighbors who get their water from the city to come out in force and fill the pews in Council Chambers next Monday evening.

Lee Fleck

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Sheri January 26, 2013 at 01:15 AM
Everyone knows that Steve Stroud is a puppet for the city.
Pat January 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM
It is pretty clear that staff, under the direction of Love runs the show. There is no, and I mean absolutely no, respect for an individual citizen or a group of citizens. No good reason can be offered why this thing must be built, so council doesn't even bother to offer anything up. Instead, the repeated sentence is "when I spoke to staff". Well staff ought to be discharged for this one, plain and simple, as their goal is plainly not in the interest of a citizen - not one, or for incompetence. Condolences to those whose homes will be devalued in the Waller Park area, and best wishes to those who will pay the increasingly higher water rates. Jan Jones spoke recently about reforming Fulton County because the county has taken advantage of North Fulton residents. Maybe she should be petitioned to reform Roswell - heck, let the city be absorbed back into the county. Residents who are victims of this city council would sure be better off.
janet h russell January 26, 2013 at 02:19 PM
Everything mentioned above is 100% correct. I have presented the City Council with facts and data. And I have questioned over and over WHY DOES THE CITY WANT TO STAY IN THE WATER BUSINESS? Only 1 council member gets their water from the City. If Fulton County water is good enough for everyone but one, then why is it not good enough for 15% of the population. I remember well, Mr. Fleck telling me that this unilateral decision would result in the city's customers having absolutely NO SAY in the decision. He ran for Council with that as part of his platform. But good ole politics prevailed and the citizens of Roswell got the representatives that they either did vote for or didn't have time to not vote for. We have a government of the people, by the people, for the people WHO SHOW UP. Be at the meeting on Jan 28 at 7pm. After almost 40 years of attending City council meetings I can tell you that I would not trust this Council if they told me the sky was up.
Richard Arena January 27, 2013 at 10:20 PM
Even a cursory examination of the facts regarding Roswell's water supply reveals just how nonsensical "investing" in a water plant that serves a small portion of the city is. That leads me to think not all the cards are on the table - which shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with the Hill Street gang.
Lee Fleck January 28, 2013 at 12:44 AM
A terrible misuse of public trust based on fraudulent financial numbers that will force those who get their water from the city to devote an inordinate share of their budgets to paying off this unnecessary debt . A Council duped by an administration to accept an enormous loan & funnel money to a contractor to protect municipal jobs.
janet h russell January 28, 2013 at 01:04 AM
I and Mr. Fleck have been telling City Council for over 1 year that this Water Plant is not necessary. I have been told 4 different stories by Mayor Wood (2), Stu Moring (1) and Kent Igleheart (1). None are the same which leads me to believe that they have forgotten to collaborate on their stores. (Always tell the truth- you don't have to have a good memory). This is the same council that just gave a contract for artificial turf but not to the lowest bidder and without input from engineers . This is the same Council that voted to spend only $600,000.00 of 1.6 million dollars that was from Marta on actual Marta improvements (250K for actual bus shelters, access to Marta and stop), and 400,000 on connecting over Ga 400. ) They showed complete contempt for Marta users when they voted to only build 10 shelters. evn thought the city Transporation Department asked for more. This is the council that has allowed the restriction of public comment to 5 mins per citizen since they started televising the council meetings. This is the same council that decided to only have 2 meetings per month and decide the rest in private sessions. Again, I tell you if the Council says the sky is up - don't believe them If the City wants to save jobs (and I think they should), then they can reassign water employees to other departments as attrition takes place. They didn't care about letting employees go when they outsourced the code enforcement and community development to a company in CO.
Michael Hadden January 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM
When did high rise apartments get preapproved? How tall will they be and where?
janet h russell January 28, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Michael, The city has purchased at bargain basement price the VFW . They want to zone 14 units per acre on that property. They want to extend Oak St through Waller Park to connect Grimes Bridge to SR9 ( we wouldn't want those Cobb commuters who exit at 7 from GA 400 to have to wait anywhere). I guess the new bridge at Grimes Bridge and Oxbo isn't enough. I have never seen such a disarray of ideas and still there is no sidewalk from the Historic Square to the River that anyone can use. March will be 40 years that I have asked for that small amenity for the thousands of residents who live in that part of town. But we don't count because no one on Council lives even remotely near by.
Jake Lilley January 28, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Everything that Lee Fleck has written is 100% correct. This is a bad deal for the citizens of Roswell and Mayor Wood and city council know this. But at least we have a routine worked out; we confront them with the facts, they reject the facts; we confront them with voters, they reject the voters. Each vote cast in favor of this decision only further demonstrates the ignorance and arrogance of the mayor, city council and city staff who are feeding them a steady diet of fiscally bloated and half-baked proposals. Unfortunately, most people in Roswell trust their government and in return their government has taken advantage of this trust. The citizens of Roswell deserve better.
RFFR January 28, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Here are the quick facts. 85% of Roswell Citizens get their water from Fulton 15% of Roswell Citizens get their water from Roswell City. Every gallon of water that Roswell City provides is made up of about 40% Fulton water. This means that Roswell can't produce enough water to service the current customers, so they pump in 40% of their daily need into the Roswell City system from Fulton then send it to us. Fulton County rates are 23% less expensive than Roswell Water. Roswell's rates will just go up as the bond for the new plant comes due. At the completion of the project, Roswell City Water will still only service 15% of the Roswell population. No additional customers will be added. The ROI is horrible on this project. Fulton just announced a price drop in their water rate. Fulton is a mess, but rebuilding the water plant on the backs of the current customer is irresponsible.
janet h russell January 29, 2013 at 01:55 AM
I attended the Water location meeting tonight. It opened with Mr. Moring giving us a timeline of the project. 1 yr ago, the council started reviewing designs for the water plant. November 2012 the council approved a 16.2 million dollar bond to be paid by the users of the water provided by the City. Anyone else think it is a bit odd that a council would be considering designs BEFORE they had approved the actual project and its funding? Or do you think that maybe they already had this decided a year ago and they just went through the motions to look legit?
janet h russell January 29, 2013 at 01:57 AM
And one more item from tonight's meeting, the consulting firm (very professional by the way) estimate anywhere from 350K to almost 1 million dollars additional costs for either option 1,2, or 4 of the site locations. An additional approx. 38K if they move the Rec service vehicles etc to Hembree park to pay for additional sewer lines for the employees who will now work from that park. And the adding machine just keeps going.......
janet h russell January 29, 2013 at 02:17 AM
That water that Roswell buys from Fulton County is then resold to Roswell customers at a higher price per 1,000 gallons so the City is making money from 15% of its residents who have no choice in who provides their water. Why do I think this is so wrong in so many ways?
Lee Fleck January 29, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Don't forget the biggest money maker for the city is the sewer fee the city tacks on to customers water usage of which only a small portion is remitted to Fulton County.
Lee Fleck February 19, 2013 at 01:22 AM
And the City continues misleading its water customers touting another white elephant by contradicting everything the Army Corp of Engineers has documented: http://roswell.patch.com/articles/roswell-completes-groundwater-well-project


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