F’ville staff recommend selling city water system to Fayette
The Fayetteville City Council on May 17 will take a look at the possible sale of the city’s water system to Fayette County. The idea for the potential sale came out of the council’s March retreat and is financially-driven.
Fayetteville City Manager Joe Morton last week said the idea for potentially merging services or possibly selling a city service such as the water system came out of discussions at the City Council retreat in March. He said discussions with Fayette County also are underway about the potential for consolidating fire services and the building inspection department.
Specific to the sale of the water system that is on the May 17 agenda, city Assistant Director of Finance and Administration Ellen Walls in a May 7 letter said, “Over the past few months, the city staff has met with the county staff in discussions on a possible merger of water systems. Through research and further discussion, it appears to be cost effective for both the city and county to proceed with developing a method to join the two systems. Staff recommends that the city continue to have discussions with the county staff with the mutually beneficial merger of these systems through county acquisition.”
City staff are asking that the council authorize the services of a consulting engineer to appraise the value of the system with the condition that the county would jointly agree on the choice of consulting engineer and share the cost of this appraisal.
Pertaining to the city’s fire department, Morton last week said the city is currently looking at the operational side of the issue that includes staffing, equipment, fire stations and organizational structure.
“We’ve met with the chief and the three shifts of firefighters. We got some good feedback and we’re looking at the issues,” Morton said.
The discussions come at a time when local revenues continue to fall due to a slumping tax digest. Also in the mix is a grant that will construct a new county fire headquarters and emergency center. If eventually approved, the merger could potentially have the city fire station on South Glynn Street operated as a county facility, Morton said.