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Rincon council takes a look at its charges in water deal
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Rincon City Council had a few more questions about its deal for surface water from Effingham County.

Last month, Rincon and the county completed their agreement for the county to supply treated surface water from Savannah Industrial and Domestic, the county’s supplier. Rincon city attorney Raymond Dickey said that in looking at impact fees, they noticed the fees are based on an equivalent residential unit use of 300 gallons per day.

“Savannah prorates it on the number of gallons used,” Dickey told council members at their meeting Tuesday night. “That issue came up very quickly when we started looking at impact fees.”

Savannah’s own set of fees also include a structure where residences that may not use that much water per day, such as two-bedroom apartments and homes, are charged less. Savannah charges the county $900 for each ERU tap in. Dickey pointed out smaller homes may not need as much water.

“Our ordinance didn’t allow for that, and we have to compensate for that,” he said. “The Savannah ordinance clearly has a lower amount.”

The county’s contract with Rincon only differentiates between residential and commercial structures and the required tap-in fees for each.

City council also passed an ordinance on the declaration of water conservation measures and debated how best to go after consumers who aren’t paying their water bills on time.

“We have people who move and refuse to pay their fees,” city planner LaMeisha Hunter said.

Stealing city water is a misdemeanor under Rincon’s statutes.

“We want something a little more palatable in place,” interim city manager David Schofield said. “We’d rather not put it in the criminal arena, unless it’s out of hand.”

Dickey said city workers have caught contractors taking water from city fire hydrants. Hunter asked council members to consider contracting with a collecting agency for consumers who are six months or more behind.

“It’s enough money to where we need to go after it,” she said.

Council members also approved a declaration of water conservation measures, and asked city staff to inform residents as quickly as possible.

“I’d like to see it posted in bold,” Councilman Ken Baxley said.

Schofield said the notice could go out by mass mailing within 10 days and Hunter said notices can be sent to the homeowners association.