The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement Tuesday to purchase the water and wastewater systems from the city of Norcross.
The Norcross City Council is expected to hear public comment in March and act on the agreement in April, according to a news release. If approved by both governments, nearly 2,200 city water and sewer customers will be billed directly by the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources starting in May or June.
“I’m very proud of the way our crews respond to water and sewer emergencies for our current customers and know that we’ll provide the same great service to our newest customers,” Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said in the release.
The $2 million purchase will add approximately 33 miles of gravity sewer and 32 miles of water mains to the county’s existing systems. Gwinnett County already maintains more than 2,660 miles of gravity sewer and more than 3,410 miles of water mains and bills about 240,000 customers monthly.
According to Water Resources Director Ron Seibenhener, consolidation of operations is the most efficient way to operate a water and wastewater utility.
“The average customer in the current Norcross system will see around a 10 percent increase in rates, but being part of an integrated system that offers maintenance and operational efficiencies will pay off in the long run,” said Seibenhener. “This is a good deal for all the parties involved – the county, the city and the customers.”
Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson had mentioned the city's water system plans at the State of the City address earlier this month.
“We had a citizen- and council-based task force look at our water and sewer system four years ago and examine all the options for providing service for the long term,” explained Johnson. “They unanimously recommended that we approach the county about purchasing the system. We are satisfied that this deal makes sense for both the city and the county, but council will take additional time to hear from our customers before making a final decision.”
Current rates and fees and an online bill calculator can be found on the Gwinnett County website. The Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources customer service center is prepared to take questions at 678-376-6800. Current Norcross water customers may also call the city’s customer service center at 770-448-2122.