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Midway talks water/sewer rate hike
midway sign
A sign welcomes motorists to Midway. - photo by File photo

Midway city officials Monday discussed the need to raise water and sewer rates at some unspecified future date. Increases of 10 and 20 percent on customer bills were examined.

Bill Powell of the Georgia Rural Water Association made a presentation to the council including funding of current and future projects. Saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger,” Powell brought word from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority that projects were now costing as much as double previous estimates.

A new water well for Midway has been in the planning stage for several years with a rough cost estimate of around $600,000. Powell told the officials Monday that such a project would now be priced in the neighborhood of $1.27 million.

Midway has only one well to draw water from and has long been looking for an alternative supply source. 

Powell said the city would soon have to charge its water and sewer customers more to pay for a GEFA loan and build a reserve fund. He showed spreadsheet projections for a 20 percent hike and for a 10 percent increase.

Powell said the effects of a 10 percent rate hike “would not be too bad, about the cost of a couple of bottles of water.”

In other business the council heard from Larry Logan, county emergency management director. about mutual aid agreements under which Liberty County and its municipalities can receive or provide aid for other jurisdictions when needed. Logan said the only such case he remembered was when he went to Hancock County to help after a severe icestorm. Midway approved the aid agreement.

Gary Gilliard and Ben Morrow of ESG made a preliminary report to the council showing how their company could contract to do operations and maintenance for Midway. ESG handles all public works for the Hinesville. It is a fast-growing company with 23 locations. Councilmembers seemed interested but took no action at Monday’s work session.

Mayor Levern Clancy Jr. said there was a punchlist of items to be finished at Midway’s new city hall building but no final completion date had been set. Items like photocopiers and furniture are still being selected. The city hall complex is on Charlie Butler Road near its intersection with Islands Highway.

Jeff Ricketson and Nirav Gandhi of the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission presented a brief review of Midway’s five-year work plan which is due for an update.

Some goals in the previous plan have been accomplished, like construction of the city hall complex, while some are ongoing, like improvements to the Cay Creek Interpretive Center. Midway’s goal of updating and organizing  its code of ordinances was listed in the previous work plan but has not been accomplished. The consensus of the mayor and council was that the ordinances should continue as goal, aiming for 2022 for completion. The five-year work plan is expected to be finalized and adopted next month.

Five-year work plans are part of the comprehensive land use plans required of all local governments every 10 years. All Liberty municipalities are working on updates.

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