Lavonia Raising Water Rates

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Water customers in the City of Lavonia will soon see another rate hike.

At its regular meeting last week, the Lavonia City Council voted to raise water rates to cover funding for several water system projects and upgrades.

Lavonia City Manager Gary Fesperman noted that the city last raised rates in June 2012.

Fesperman said the city is applying for a grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, which will require a city match.

“According to our GEFA mandates, we should be considering an increase each year,” Fesperman said. “In our application, we proposed a 5% increase both on base and on overage. That works out to about .25-cents on base and .25-cents on overage.”  

Fesperman said that would result in about $96,000 in extra revenue to help pay for the city’s water meter replacement project.

“It’s going to cost $465,000 to put in place. That will be funded through the GEFA loan, which we would pay back over ten years,” he said.  

He added that the rate increase will also help pay for two other major projects now in the works in Lavonia.

“We also have a $560,000 matching water intake project, which we will be doing next year on LakeHartwell,” he said. “We also have a water re-allocation project from the Corps of Engineers and that’s going to cost upwards of a quarter of a million dollars.”

Fesperman said on a typical 5,000 gallon monthly usage for water only, the increase works out to about an extra dollar a month.

The raw water intake system upgrade is Phase 3 of an overall water system upgrade the city of Lavonia has been working on for the past several years.

The raw water intake system on Hartwell Lake pumps in the city’s drinking water.

Lavonia officials have said those pumps on Boat Ramp Road were installed in the 1980’s and are beginning to deteriorate.