Williamson Letter - 05/15/09

After attending the first meeting this past Tuesday of the Water and Sewer Authority, it became very evident that this is not just an advisory board as Chairman Oden stated.

The better part of the meeting was taken up by Dwight Wicks from Rockdale Water Resources, who constantly let it be known that the system is in debt (actually $2.5 million in debt), but then discussed how he needed additional personnel for his customer service office.

When Chairman Elaine Nash made it clear that the top priority should be fixing our existing system first, the citizens agreed, but other board members clearly did not. It only makes sense to make our existing system work better for us since it is an asset of the county, before putting Rockdale citizens further into debt by expansion of the system to accommodate future growth. Considering the number of homes in foreclosure, this is the ideal time to fix the broken pipes, leaky meters and damaged sewer lines.

A citizen did tell the board that its first responsibility should be to advise the BOC, Zoning and Planning commissions to put a moratorium on any new growth and expansion until the entire system we have now is up to running with integrity. The board's biggest challenge seems to be that they have no idea of how much debt they have, but by the same token, they didn't know how much in assets they have either. But at the end of the meeting, Garvin Haynes finally confirmed that there will be a rate increase and used his own $12.91 monthly bill as an example.

To sum it up, the board knows they are in debt, but can't prove how much; they want to add another sewer plant, but must address our existing system first; don't know how much the assets are, but they do know that we citizens will definitely pay more each month.

Don Williamson