- Local News
--By Staff Writer on --
Says the Board Should Ignore Deadline and let Court Decide
Forsyth County– District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent blasted Cumming Mayor Ford Gravitt and the Cumming City Council Sunday for their decision to shut off raw water sales to the county if a new water contract isn’t approved by Oct. 1, calling it “irrational” and “unreasonable.”
Just prior to the contract expiring in May, the mayor and city council accepted, in writing, the commissioner’s bullet-point offer for a new water agreement.
“For the mayor and city council to threaten to deprive 170,000 county residence of water they desperately need, because the county will not agree to whatever terms the mayor sets is completely unacceptable,” Levent added. “It’s time for the citizens to protect their wallets from this kind of abuse.”
Clearly angered by the threat, Levent said he will recommend commissioners continue to negotiate in good faith, but if the city is not going to honor the agreement it signed then commissioners should take the $11.4 million off the table they agreed to pay the city for the new water intake facility. If the raw water is shut off, Levent said he would support filing a lawsuit against the city..
“We’ve bent over backwards to reach a fair agreement with the city,” Levent said. “We took a lot of political heat from our citizens for agreeing to help the city fund its new water intake facility.”
In the past, Forsyth County has paid the city up to10 cents per 1,000 gallons for raw water pumped through the city’s intake. Gravitt said as of Oct. 1, the county will still receive all the water it needs through the city’s treated water facility but at a cost of $2.50 per 1,000 gallons, refusing the county to access to the 14 MGD raw water that was permitted to it by the EPD.
The U.S.Army Corps. of Engineers refusal to grant the county a permit for its own intake into Lake Lanier has allowed city to hold the county hostage,” Levent said. “It still is not clear if the City has the ability to treat enough finished water to serve the City and the County’s needs.”
Levent urges all citizens to contact their congressman, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the EPD and Governor Nathan Deal to ask them to take emergency action on Forsyth County resolutions that ask for an increase in the county’s water permit and a storage area in Lake Lanier and an intake permit.