Senoia amends water/sewer budgets

Increases in expenses related to the Senoia Water System led to the approval by the City Council Monday night of a transfer of $61,000 in reserves to amend the Water Fund budget. The council also approved a $22,800 amendment to the Sewer Fund.

Beyond the fluctuations that accompany any given line item of a budget, City Administrator Richard Ferry noted a number of variables that resulted in the recommendation to add $61,000 from the reserves to the water system’s Revenue Account.

One of those was an $89,700 additional expense in the purchase of water from Coweta County. Ferry said that the city in early 2009 experienced a significant water leak that could not be located after a pipe broke and drained into a storm line. The leak was found, Ferry said, but not before nearly $90,000 in county water had passed through the pipe.

Another expense not anticipated at budget time was the rapidly escalating cost of chemicals used to treat drinking water. The cost of chemicals for water treatment grew to unprecedented levels in 2009, Ferry said, adding that the amounts of chemicals used also increased. In all, those expenses were $26,300 beyond what had been approved for the budget.

Still other new expenses came with well exploration, utility costs and the $24,800 addition of one employee needed to service the expanding system.
Other line item areas saw a decrease from what had originally been budgeted. But in the end, there was still the matter of coming up $61,000 short unless that amount was transferred from reserves.

“We have an operating reserve so I recommend we take it from there,” Ferry said just before a unanimous vote from the council.
Council members also amended the Sewer Fund budget by $22,800 due to an increase in expenses over revenues.

“Two things that killed us last year was waiting too long to raise the rates and the water leak,” said Mayor Robert Belisle.