Villa Rica City Manager Tom Barber says that the city of 15,000 residents will need to grow by nearly a third in order to solve looming financial issues with the water and sewer system.
Barber announced during Tuesday’s city council meeting, the city has over $15 million worth of water and sewer upgrading projects on the docket including a complete overhaul of the 60-year-old water treatment plant. That, along with additional water and sewer projects to facilitate the growth, will require new customers. Additional rate increases, Mr. Barber said, will not suffice.
“If we don’t do the work and we don’t get any growth…the that is the end,” commented Barber.
According to him the city would need to borrow money from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority to pay for water and sewer infrastructure — and in order to make debt payments for the loan, the city would need a mix of 2,100 new water and sewer customers, which equates to roughly 300 news house a year for four years, new apartment complexes, additional retail and commercial properties, as well as five new industrial accounts.
Barber said there is hope to attract that much growth within the city, pointing to plans for a second industrial park, a Mirror Lake connector, the north loop bypass and the Avemore development. All plans should be completed within six years but an economic recession could kill anyone of those plans.
Despite the dire report from Barber, Mayor Jeff Reese remains optimistic because the city at least has a plan.
“It is refreshing to hear a city manager that has a game plan, knows where we are and knows how to get there,” said Reese after hearing the report.
Barber also commented that with a large influx in population, the City of Gold will need road improvements to avoid heavy congestion.