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February 2, 2008 

JCWSA PLANS TO EXTEND “HYDRANT TAX” 4 MORE YEARS

If you didn’t read the very last page (at the bottom in the corner) of the 1/11/08 Monticello News, you missed the story about the JCWSA meeting.  The title of the article didn’t even mention JCWSA so it was easily overlooked.

JCWSA plans to extend the “hydrant tax” and wants it extended for 4 years at a time, rather than 1 year at a time.  The intent of the BOC when the tax was passed was to let this tax “sunset” after JCWSA was passed its “financial crisis.”  Comm. Yarbrough refused to approve the tax unless there was a sunset provision. 

TWG encourages the BOC to stick with those terms and make sure the resolution is correctly stated.  Obviously it is not according to what the JCWSA Executive Director, Linda Jordan, said at the JCWSA meeting 1/8/08. 

Mrs. Jordan said it was time to appear before the BOC and ask them to extend the special tax on fire hydrants.  She said this must be done before the end of March.  Mrs. Jordan then went on to say that what the BOC intended to write and what they did write was differentShe said they wrote that if an extension is granted, it will be granted for the next 4 years.  She told Mark Walton (JCWSA Secretary) not to write in his minutes that the extension would be for 4 years, just to write that they will ask for the extension.  She doesn’t want to bring the mistake to the attention of the BOC. 

If you are being taxed for a hydrant near you (within 1000’ of a structure on your property) and have comments before this extension is brought up to the BOC (mostly likely at their February meeting 2/4/08 or possibly at the March meeting 3/3/08), contact your commissioners.  Their contacts are here:  http://www.taxdogs.com/commissioners.htm

Comm. Bernard, Comm. Johnson, and Comm. Yarbrough’s districts are affected by the “hydrant tax.”  TWG urges those with comments to make plans to attend the BOC meeting.  TWG also urges the BOC to continue the annual extension so that citizens are not overtaxed for the benefit of the JCWSA.

Here are some statistics and facts gleaned from the October 2007 JCWSA financials presented to the JCWSA Board Members:

From October 2006 to October 2007:

  •       Customers increased 20% (from 247 to 297)
  •       Water revenue increase 19%
  •       Total Revenue increased  7%
  •       The cost of water was $1469.00 while JCWSA charged $10,836.89 for the water—a 730% markup
  • Cash decreased 29% (by November 2007 it decreased 40%)
  • Current Liabilities (the ones due within a year) increased 84%
  •   YTD loss = $6663 compared to loss of $11,555 in October 2006

Other information of interest:

  •   794 properties were taxed $52.10 each for the hydrant tax
  •   JCWSA can bring in an additional $41,367.40 from this tax on 2007 tax bills
  •   There is a $50,000 cap on the tax 

JCWSA reported that they hit a milestone of 300 customers in December.  When they were in talks with Newton County about Bear Creek Reservoir their projections for customers were closer to 2000 customers or more by this time.  

Comm. Bernard repeatedly stated during the meeting when the first “hydrant tax” was voted on that the JCWSA was broke.  He was right.  JCWSA now has new loans as follows:

·         Bank of Monticello                 $22,125

·         Butts Co WSA                        $15,000

·         Comm. Resource Grp             $40,000

 JCWSA continues to pay on their “big loans” for the water lines they have run:

·         GEFA (Yancey Rd)   $124,112  (note payment of approx $1170 per month)

·         USDA       $2,245,308 (note payment of approx $10,760 per month)

 
Even though the current customers pay a 700%+ markup on water and a special hydrant tax, the JCWSA customers should expect to pay more in the future.  The JCWSA’s source of new customers has been new subdivisions which have come to a standstill with the housing and mortgage crunch.


TWG
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