Council open to backing WASA refinancing

Authority proposes to keep city’s veto power for extensions, save $1.8M

There may not be a stalemate after all between the Peachtree City Council and the Peachtree City Water and Sewer Authority.

Council members said Thursday night they were open to a WASA proposal for the city to back a bond refinancing for the sewer agency in a deal that would allow council to keep its veto power over the extension of sewer service beyond the city limits.

With the city’s backing, WASA and its ratepayers would save an additional $500,000 over the life of the loan for a grand total savings of $1.8 million.

Another benefit of the city assistance is that WASA would not be forced to tie up $1.8 million in cash for a debt service reserve fund.

Council tabled a vote at the request of WASA Chairman Mike Harman, who said he still needed to communicate with his fellow board members on the matter.

Just last week, WASA voted to refinance the two bond issues on its own, which would give them the ability to nix an existing agreement with the city that gives the sewer veto power to council. WASA did not vote to sever that agreement, however, and Harman said the reason WASA proceeded with the vote to refinance without the city’s assistance was because the authority had not heard any feedback from its initial request to the city.

WASA officials have said there are no active requests to provide sewer service to any lot outside of the city limits and furthermore that WASA is not looking to expand beyond the city limits either.

“We have absolutely no plans or no proposal on the table to expand the sewer system outside of the city limits,” Harman said. “... Our sole intention is to try and save rate payers some money, because everybody knows interest rates are so favorable right now. It’s a significant cost savings, so that’s the motivation.”

Councilman Eric Imker suggested WASA consider adding a separate agreement with the city to preserve its sewer extension veto power for 50 years.