Sewer out-of-city expansion veto, $500,000 savings up for PTC vote

Peachtree City residents will find out this Thursday night (Oct. 4) if the Peachtree City Water and Sewer Authority will be able to save an additional $500,000 with a proposed refinancing of its two outstanding bonds.

The matter, which will be discussed by the Peachtree City Council, centers on preserving council’s power to veto any expansion of the sewer system beyond the city limits. WASA last month voted to refinance the bonds on its own, which would allow it to ditch the veto power.

At the September WASA meeting, Chairman Mike Harman argued that the system would have been better off financially if the council had allowed it to expand service into Senoia and a limited area of east Coweta County. At the time, Harman said that while the current council members didn’t make those decisions, he felt it best for WASA’s ratepayers for WASA to have complete control over any expansion beyond the city limits.

But by the Sept. 18 council meeting, there were signs WASA might change its tune, as Harman addressed council with a potential offer to keep the council’s veto power intact if the city would back the proposed refinancing.

Without the city’s help, WASA will only save $1.3 million, and it will have to tie up $1.8 million in cash to create a debt service reserve fund.

The city has historically backed WASA’s bonds to provide savings on interest rates by taking advantage of the city’s AAA credit rating.

There are no plans or proposals afoot to provide service beyond the city limits, according to both Harman and WASA General Manager Stephen Hogan.

“Our sole intention is to try and save ratepayers some money, because everybody knows interest rates are so favorable right now,” Harman told council at its Sept. 18 meeting. “It’s a significant cost savings, so that’s the motivation.”

At that meeting, Harman asked for the decision to be postponed to allow him time to discuss the matter fully with his fellow authority members. There were no further details on the proposal transmitted to council members in the meeting “agenda packet” of documents on Friday.

Council’s discussion and vote on the matter will take place at City Hall during the council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. Thursday.

WASA consists of a five-member autonomous board that operates the city’s sewer system. Each of the five members are appointed to staggered four-year terms by the council.