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      Paulding Watson Admin BldgPaulding water and sewer customers should expect rate increases beginning Jan. 1 to help pay for the county's new source of drinking water going into operation in five years.

      County commissioners Tuesday voted to approve annual rate increases of 4.75 percent for Paulding water customers and 4.0 percent for sewer customers through 2021 to help fund the Richland Creek reservoir program.

      The increases will begin Jan. 1, 2017, and will be in addition to any annual rate increase imposed by Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority, which is Paulding’s current water supplier, finance director Tabitha Pollard told commissioners. However, Paulding ratepayers will see long-term savings past 2021 because Cobb County-Marietta likely will continue its current 4 percent annual increase in rates for the next 20 years, Pollard said.

      In a related action, commissioners voted to approve construction of improvements on Ga. Hwy. 61 totaling $2.76 million to accommodate the start of reservoir construction in August.

      The board approved a contract with Brad Cole Construction Co. of Carrollton for the project. The work at the entrance to the northeast Paulding reservoir site will include a new turn lane and acceleration and deceleration lanes, said project manager Kelly Comstock.

      “We recognize there will be hundreds of workers and dozens of deliveries per day taking place at this facility,” Comstock said. “We’re going to need some logistics in terms of getting that traffic off 61.”

      The board of commissioners also approved four resolutions to accept loans previously approved by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority totaling $65 million.

      The loans range from 30 to 40 years and from 1.4 percent to 2.03 percent. Repayment does not begin until the reservoir’s planned opening in 2021.

      The loans are part of $82 million the county has secured in funding. It still must seek loans or grants totaling about $130 million to complete its financing of the $215 million project.

      Engineers expect construction of the 305-acre Richland Creek Reservoir to begin later this year with completion expected in 2021.

      In other action, commissioners voted to deny a special use permit for a transitional housing facility and an “event and training center” on 16 acres on Pine Valley Road near Sheffield Drive in southeast Paulding.

      The request by Evelyn Aikins Eppinger was for a 2,304-square-foot living facility for up to eight women ages 18 to 25 and a separate 40,000-square-foot event building.

      Commissioners also voted to approve Chris Garrett’s request to rezone 31 acres on Nebo Road near Princeton Drive from residential to agricultural for personal residential and agricultural uses.

      Read more: Neighbor Newspapers – Water rates rising in January to help fund Paulding reservoir

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