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City rejects offer from Atlanta Gas
City Manager: Proposal to buy system for $10M without merit

COVINGTON - City officials are saying "Thanks, but no thanks," to an offer by Atlanta Gas Light Company to purchase the city's gas system for about $10 million.

City Manager Steve Horton said the city was approached by Atlanta Gas Light representatives with an offer to purchase the system at $1,200 per customer, or around $10 million. He added that the city got nearly double that amount per customer when it sold Covington Cable to Charter Communications.

"It's not a deal with merit in my opinion," Horton said during the council's work session prior to its regular meeting.

Mayor Kim Carter agreed.

"If we're all in agreement I'd just as soon write a thank you letter on city letterhead and let that be the end of it. There's no way our system is worth that little," she said.

The council agreed that Carter should write a letter rejecting the proposal.

The city has operated a gas system since the 1950s and has between 8,000 and 8,500 gas customers.

"Our profit margin has diminished considerably due to the fact that we have not had a volumetric rate increase in several years," Horton said. The volumetric rate is the cost per mcf, a measuring unit used by the gas industry. The current charge is $6.55 per mcf.

Asked if city officials are looking to sell the system in the future, Horton responded, "I certainly cannot speak for any future decision that may be derived by present or future elected officials, but based upon the consensus voiced last night, the elected officials that now hold office have no interest in selling the system."

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.