City Manager Charles Akridge explains that a minimum water fee of $8.40 was temporarily taken off household bills last year. City residents have instead been charged only for water used.
Monday night, Akridge informed commissioners that the water department’s budget was suffering now that the fee was no longer being collected.
“For us, revenue wise, we essentially are losing money,” Akridge said.
His recommendation was that the fee be re-instated along with a $1.60 increase to get the water revenue back in the black. A public notice about the fee will show up in next month’s water bills. The minimum fee of $10 is applied to all water customers that use 500 cubic feet of water or less per month. Larger water customers face other fees.
Akridge noted that while any increase in bills is going to be unpopular, the Cedartown charge is less than other nearby communities. Rockmart, for example, charges a minimum fee of $18.74 for access to its city water supply, he said.
In other business Monday night, the commission:
Approved a conditional use request for Jeremy Fulbright, owner of a building in the 400 block of East Gibson Street. The building is zoned as heavy industrial and a conditional use permit is required for his plan to open “a retail food mart and deli style prepared quick service restaurant,” doing business as J&D’s Food Mart.
The application listed the location as “407 and/or 411 E. Gibson St.” Fulbright explained that his building has two addresses -- the county tax records give it one address and the city’s water billing department gives it another. Once commissioners determined there was no confusion about the physical address, the permit was approved.
A public hearing regarding the permit request preceded the regular meeting at 7 p.m. No one raise any objections.
Commissioners also held a public hearing regarding a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant application. The commission will apply for the state grant to support water and sewer system improvements along Central, Marietta and Thompson streets.
The board also heard from two groups who asked to come before the board.
Pastor Lewis Clark, of Cedar Spring Baptist Church, spoke in support of the Cedartown Ministerial Association’s annual Feed the Children Youth Festival. The next event is to be held Saturday, Aug. 14 at Peek Park.
The program distributes canned goods, flour and other food items to local families. Last year’s event provided for about 400 families. Clark said program participants are aiming for 450 this year.
The board approved the group’s request to reserve the park for the event on that date.
Also coming before the board were Rita Mull and Krige Schabort, on behalf of the 11th Annual Cedartown 5K Road Race and Camp, set for June 27 to July 1. The commission promised its support for the event at the same level as last year.
Mull is a volunteer with the annual pushrim wheelchair race, which brings in athletes from all around the world. Schabort is a medal-winning competitor in the event and lives in Cedartown. The event is held a week before the larger Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta each year.
Also Monday, the commission:
Applauded Polk County Commission members John Barrett and Dale Tuck. Both received plaques noting their Certificate of Achievement through the Georgia Municipal Training Institute. They achieved this recognition by completing a series of training seminars offered through the Institute, which is a cooperative effort of GMA and the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
Designated Feb. 19, National Arbor Day, as Cedartown’s officials observance.
Made plans to attend a Medal of Valor presentation ceremony, scheduled fro 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16 at the Cedartown Fire Department to honor firefighters. Commission Chairman Larry Odom reminded the board that the two men are being recognized as heroes after “they saved a man’s life.” The two pulled 95 Prior St. resident Hal Thompson out of his burning home. The two were off duty and were not equipped with firefighting equipment or any gear when they went in and moved the elderly man to safety.
Heard an update from Johnny Morris, the city’s recreation director, about upcoming little league baseball. Morris said there is a shortage of coaches as “we already have about 100 more kids” than last year.
“We’ve got more teams than we’ve got coaches,” he said.
Morris said about 330 children registered already, compared to about 246 last year. Registration for the senior league, for ages 13-14, will be held later.
Made plans to prepare for the return of the National Guard members from the 108th Calvary. The unit has a barracks here in Cedartown. The Guardsmen are expected to return between March 3-11. A planning session for local plans will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Cedartown City Hall.
Granted permission for local Boy Scouts, working with the Keep Polk Beautiful program, to plant flower bulbs on city property, including Peek Park. The project is scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 20.