Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday December 30
Water, sewer rates to increaseby 11 percent in 2012
by Andrew Cauthenandrew@dekalbchamp.comAfter being warned for ayear, county residents willsee their water bills go upeffective Jan. 1.DeKalb County’s water and sewer rates will in-crease by 11 percent to helpnance more than $1 billiondollars in improvementsto the county’s water andsewer system. The rate willalso increase in 2013 and2014 by 11 percent, accord-ing to a plan adopted by theBoard of Commissioners inDecember 2010.The increases mean cus-tomers with county water and sewer services cur-rently using 6,000 gallons per month would see their rates increase from $59.52in 2010 to $94.41 in 2014.“This gives us the neces-sary revenue to support thelong-term payment of the bonds,” said
,director of the county’s wa-tershed management depart-ment.In December, the Boardof Commissioners approveda $381 million water andsewer bond. With an inter-est rate of 4.46 percent, theloans will cost taxpayers$766 million over the 30year loan period. The coun-ty plans to secure a $390million bond in 2012 as partof several anticipated bondsduring the watershed im- provement process.Of the $1.345 billion incapital improvement proj-ects, approximately $1 bil-lion will be funded by the bonds and the rest will benanced by the watersheddepartment’s cash reserves,Basista said.In 2012, the countywill begin approximately$400 million of capitalimprovement projects. Of that amount, approximately$250 million will go to re- build, upgrade and expandthe Snapnger Wastewater Treatment Plant.“This is simply the big-gest project we will do inthe capital improvement plan,” Basista said.Bid requests for the rst phase of the Snapnger project, which will entailclearing and grading thesite where the new structurewill be built, will go out inJanuary. The actual con-struction phase is expectedto be bid out in the secondor third quarter of 2012.Approximately $150million will be used for thedesign and construction of 20-25 other projects.“We will see actual con-struction in 2012,” Basistasaid. “You won’t see mas-sive construction in 2012, but we will be at a prettygood pace.”DeKalb CEO
has touted the capitalimprovement plan, whichhe says will create approxi-mately 4,000 jobs, as thecounty’s stimulus plan.“This is the heart of our economic development pro-gram,” Basista said.The county’s water andsewer system, which servesmore than 730,000 peopleand 20,000 businesses, hasabout 5,200 miles of water and sewer lines, one treat-ment facility for drinkingwater and two for wastewater.The system is plaguedwith pipe breaks and sewer spills. As of Dec. 20, therehave been 187 county sewer spills, many caused bygrease blockages in pipes.According to county of-cials, approximately $20million-$30 million will be allocated to address re-quirements of a proposedconsent decree in which thecounty would agree to paya $453,000 penalty fromthe federal EnvironmentalProtection Agency (EPA)for excessive sewage spills.The county also agreedto implement a $600,000stream cleanup project, fo-cusing on debris removalfrom parts of the SouthRiver, South Fork PeachtreeCreek and Snapnger Creek.Basista said the wa-tershed department hasalready begun addressingsome of the issues that brought about the proposedconsent decree. The countyis in the process of physi-cally surveying the entiresewer system, with 70 per-cent of the mapping alreadycomplete. Workers are alsoin the process of building acomputerized hydrologicalmodel of the system.Some limited systemrehabilitation and closed-circuit monitoring is alsounder way, Basista said.
Deadbeat dadsarrested in roundup
Ten deadbeat dads werearrested on Dec. 21 by aspecial task force of DeKalbCounty Sheriff’s Ofce depu-ties.“There are some fathersout there that could help their babies to have a nice Christ-mas,” said Sheriff
about the roundupthat was conducted overnight.Although the departmentserves warrants throughoutthe year for noncustodial parents charged with aban-donment or child supportnegligence, the roundup puts“a real special emphasis” onserving the warrants, Brownsaid.An original list of 400warrants was narrowed downto 189 for the roundup. Of that number, the task forceattempted to serve 114 war-rants. Brown said the 10 ar-rests could help 10 familiesduring the holiday season.“If these guys have moneyand want to get out of jail for Christmas, that’s 10 morefamilies that will be helped,”Brown said.This was the sixth year of the holiday season roundup.
‘Bring One for theChipper’ event set
Keep DeKalb Beautiful’s(KDB) annual “Bring One for the Chipper” event is Jan.2-7at several locations through-out the county.
Monday,Jan. 2 – Saturday, Jan. 7.
KDB encourages DeKalbresidents to recycle their Christmas trees after theholidays through DeKalbCounty Sanitation Division’sCurbside Recycling Programor by drop-off at the Semi-nole Road Landll and threeHome Depot locations acrossthe county. DeKalb residentsreceiving sanitation servicescan place their tree at the curbfor pick-up on regular yarddebris collection day. Treesshould not exceed four feet inlength for curbside pick-up.The recycled trees will bechipped into mulch or usedas wildlife habitat. Mulch isused for public beautication projects and is free to DeKalbresidents.Christmas tree recyclingdrop-off locations are listed below:
Seminole Road Landll
4203 Clevemont Road, El-lenwood(Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
2295 Lawrenceville High-way, Decatur,4343 Tilly Mill Road, Atlanta4325 New Snapnger WoodsDrive, Decatur
Atlanta VA nurseswin awards
Five nurses from the At-lanta VA Medical Center inDecatur have been named2011 nurses of the year byGeorgia March of Dimes.The winners were selectedfrom nearly 500 nomina-tions throughout Georgia andrecognized for their work to provide care, comfort andsupport to patients in thecommunity. The Atlanta VA,with 46 finalists, capturedfive of the 16 categories.The winning nurses are
, MSHA,BSN, RN, for behavioralhealth;
, MS,BSN, RN, for general medi-cal/surgical services;
, MN, RN, for hos- pice, home health and pallia-tive care;
,DNP, RN, FNP-BC, OCN,CHPN, for nursing admin-istration; and
,MSN, RN-BC, for long termacute care/rehabilitation.
Green woodworkingdemo to be held
The DeKalb CountyRecreation, Parks and Cul-tural Affairs will host a greenwoodworking demonstrationon how to make hiking sticks,Dec. 30, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at theDavidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, at 3787Klondike Road in Lithonia.The demonstration willteach patrons how to createhiking sticks out of naturalresources. After each demon-stration, hiking sticks will bedistributed to one person per household. All materials will be provided by the recreationstaff.For more information,contact
Construction on the Snapnger Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is expected to begin in 2012. Theplant’s price tag will be paid by an 11 percent water and sewer rate hike which goes into effect inJanuary. Photo by Andrew Cauthen