If you are one of the 14,300 residents who get their water from the city of Roswell, then you are paying on average 19 percent more for water than Roswell City Council; who, all but one, enjoy the lower water rates of Fulton County.
On Oct. 22, without any discussion, Roswell City Council unilaterally rammed through a new $16.2 million revenue bond for a poorly planned and unnecessary new Water Plant. This new bond will saddle the citizens of southwest Roswell to debt and higher water prices for the next 20 years. And when a woman stood up to speak out against this abuse of power and fiscal irresponsibility, Mayor Wood had her forcibly removed from the meeting by police.
Speaking truth to power has some very dangerous consequences.
Roswell City Council didn’t even need the taxpayer's approval for this type of bond. Just a unanimous vote with no discussion was all it took to shackle a very small population of Roswell citizens with a very large debt; for the next 20 years.
“It appears that the Roswell City Council has decided that by calling something a water 'revenue' bond, to be imposed on 15.5 percent of the addresses in Roswell, then it is not a tax. That means that the $16.2 million bond didn't have to be listed on the recent Nov. 6 ballot under the other bond for $14.7 million. I guess they didn't want the residents of Roswell to know that the city was about to get into $30.9 million worth of [new] debt,” says Janet Russell.
Janet is just one of the many citizens who have become increasingly concerned about the fiscal accountability of Roswell City Council.
The public has been kept mostly in the dark about this decision. So Roswell for Fiscal Responsibility (RFFR) has spent the last few weeks asking questions and digging through data to bring you the truth about the Roswell City Water Plant.
Let me share a few facts with you about the Roswell City Water Plant:
1.) 85 percent of Roswell residents currently get their water from Fulton County while only 15 percent of Roswell residents get their water from the city of Roswell
- If Fulton County water is good enough for 85 percent of the population, then why isn’t it good enough for the rest of us?
2.) Residential customers of Roswell City Water pay 17 percent to 120 percent more than the rest of Roswell citizens who get their water from Fulton County.
- Rate data collected from the state of Georgia Utility Usage & Rates Report
- Water rates increase by volume.
- The average family who gets water from the city of Roswell pays 19 percent more for water than those Roswell residents who get their water from Fulton County.
3.) Business customers of Roswell City Water pay 59 percent to 250 percent more than the rest of Roswell businesses who get their water from Fulton County.
4.) Only 1 of the 6 Roswell City Council members gets his water from the city of Roswell
- Yet, all 6 members of Roswell City Council voted in favor of the $16.2 million water bond.
- This is truly taxation with minimal representation!
5.) Roswell city government claims that the $16.2 million bond can be paid for by charging 6,000 existing water customers $1 each month. But this generates only $72,000 each year on an almost $900,000 yearly bill. Such a small amount cannot begin to pay for a $16.2 million loan.
- This means that additional fees will likely be levied against Roswell City Water customers.
6.) Per the 2010 Master Water plan, prices must be increased by 2.5 precent - 3 percent each year to pay for plant maintenance and improvements.
- This annual increase does not pay for maintenance and repair of water distribution pipes.
7.) Roswell City Council plans to build a 10 million gallon, 55 foot water tank in a recreational area that will over-shadow Waller Park and surrounding neighborhoods.
- This huge eye-sore will cost $5 million but provide only enough water for 3 days worth of emergency reserves.
- The water tank will be visible from surrounding neighborhoods and have an immediate and negative impact on private property values.
8.) Even after the new plant is completed, Roswell Water will serve no more customers than it does today.
- The citizens of southwest Roswell will be taxed in order to provided the exact same service they currently enjoy.
9.) Fulton County can supply all of the water we need for a fraction of the price.
- Roswell is the only city in North Fulton with its own water plant and the water it produces is more expensive.
- Other cities enjoy the cheaper water rates of Fulton County. Why can't we?
- Roswell city water pipes are already interconnected with Fulton County water pipes. In fact, if you are a Roswell City Water customer, 40 percent of your water is pumped in from Fulton County.
Unless you and I stand together, I, like many others will be forced to pay for this boondoggle decision by Roswell City Council to build an unneeded, unwanted water plant that will saddle a handful of residents in Roswell with a $16.2 million debt and higher water prices for the next 20 years.
But the task won't be easy. That's why I'm asking you to please sign the petition below to save Waller Park and Stop the new Roswell City Water Plant.
Petition: Save Waller Park, Stop the Roswell City Water Plant
Please join me in telling Roswell City Council that it is time for the city of Roswell to get out of the water business.