Water Conservation

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CONYERS — Concerned that Rockdale County could be in violation of the state charter that established the Rockdale County Water and Sewer Authority in 1995, the remaining three members of the seven-member board are seeking clarity on a number of items with Rockdale County. They have sent a letter outlining 12 areas of concern to the Board of Commissioners.

Authority members said they met in December with BOC Chair Oz Nesbitt Sr. and that he said while he appreciated the work done by the authority, that they were no longer needed in their current capacity.

A private citizen became concerned and contacted one of the county’s state representatives, who researched the issue and found that the authority was established as a separate government entity and that the BOC has no jurisdiction other than to appoint representatives to the RCWSA. In order to change the charter or charge of the Authority it would require state legislative action, and no changes have been requested.

After receiving that opinion from the representative’s office, the authority members felt a letter needed to be drafted to the BOC with their concerns, and allowing the county time to correct what the authority members believe may have been accidental oversteps by the county.

On June 20, in their first meeting in almost a year, Chairman David L. Shipp and members Tom Harrison and William Campbell approved sending the letter, which outlines 12 issues they feel need to be addressed promptly by the Board of Commissioners. Shipp read the letter into the minutes of the meeting.

Among the issues are:

♦ The need for a complete forensic audit of Rockdale Water Resources by an outside auditing firm;

♦ The authority believes the county has failed to meet the terms of asset sales as set forth in a 1996 lease agreement between the RCWSA and the county when the county purchased the water system from the city of Conyers, and is requesting that all properties be quit claim deeded back to the Authority;

♦ The return of $600,000 paid to the city of Conyers without approval by the authority for unspecified infrastructure changes along Hardin and O’Kelly streets;

♦ Rescinding the agreement to provide funding for infrastructure improvements at the redevelopment of the Salem Gate shopping center. The authority feels the developer should pay for the improvements, rather than the water and sewer rate payers of the county;

♦ The $800,000 gained from the sale of timber on authority land needs to be placed in Rockdale Water Resources accounts;

♦ The hiring of a new attorney for the water authority, to be paid by RWR;

♦ The approval of the RCWSA master plan;

♦ The replacement of all vacant RCWSA board positions;

♦ The members want to know who signed for the $22.6 million GEFA loan for the Snapping Shoals Water Treatment Plant construction;

♦ The hiring of a new RWR director; and

♦ The authority also wants to know who approved sewer capacity for the 4A development (Eastmore) during a time when the BOC had a moratorium on additional sewer taps.

The RCWSA board members are asking that the issues be addressed as soon as possible.

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.