by Steena Hymes
The water franchise agreement between Peachtree City and Fayette County was passed Thursday night by a 4-1 vote at County Commission meeting.
The agreement was approved previously by the Peachtree City City Council November 5 before coming across the Commissioners’ desk.
The new agreement has been in the works for over a year as both city and county officials worked to fix the previous agreement which was initially established in 1966, with various amendments over the last 50 years. Both city and county officials agreed that the 1966 contract was poorly constructed and left little instruction or guidance.
Commissioner Steve Brown voted against the agreement, stating that some parts of the contract were still too vague. Brown cited the agreement in which it is stated that parties would “exercise their best efforts” relating to maintenance and called for more exact language that would list specific solutions to management concerns.
“That language was added by the county just to create a level of assurance that something would be done, but I don’t think it really gives us any guarantee that something will be done,” Brown said. “I would love to see us put some language in there that defines what the management practices are going to be and list specific criteria.”
While Brown found faults in the new contract, the other commissioners were on board, saying that compromise between the Peachtree City and Fayette County was key.
“When you’ve had a contract that was as bad as it was and you have two sides come together, I think there are issues in the new contract that shows that both sides conceded certain things and got certain things,” Commissioner Randy Ognio said. “This is a good contract for the county at this point.”
Commission Chairman Charles Oddo emphasized that, rather than creating a brand new contract, the job was to combine and amend the 1966 agreement plus all the various amendments up until this point and that the new agreement is a great improvement.
“This was not written by one person. This was written a group of 15 or 20 people. Everybody had their say, everybody wanted something out of it,” Oddo said. “We’re walking away with what we thought was the best product for both communities. This is really a win-win situation for both.”
Though he voted against the agreement, Brown did state that it was much better than the 1966 contract.
Under the new agreement, which is in effect until 2035, the county will maintain the dam and spillway at Lake Peachtree. The county will contribute $2 million to replace the spillway, which is set to begin construction in September 2017 and be complete in spring of 2018.
The new agreement also outlines dredging work. The county and the city will each have a 50/50 share of dredging costs, which is estimated to be around $3 million. The cost would be split, but with the county giving the city a $1 million credit. The costs for any necessary road repairs would also be split.