The 632 residents connected to the Lookout Mountain, Ga., sewer system will start paying an additional $15 monthly fee that takes effect Jan. 1.
The City Council unanimously OK'd the new fee at a 7:30 a.m. Thursday meeting.
The fee hike isn't as high as it could have been.
City officials first pitched the idea of a $19 fee in anticipation of a big rate hike to have its sewage treated at Moccasin Bend in Chattanooga. Officials were worried by reports of the 39 percent rate increase the Hamilton County Water & Wastewater Treatment Authority levied on East Ridge, Signal Mountain, Red Bank and its other member cities -- that also have their sewage treated at Moccasin Bend.
But Lookout Mountain, Ga., doesn't belong to the wastewater authority; it's billed directly by the city of Chattanooga, which only increased the price for Moccasin Bend sewage treatment by 5 percent, from $1.18 per 1,000 gallons to $1.24 per 1,000 gallons.
Still, Lookout Mountain council members wanted to enact the fee to pay for such upgrades to its sewage system as replacement of 55 corroded cast-iron air release valves with stainless steel vales that cost about $700 each and to repair pipes inside the main pump station, which needs $50,000 to $60,000 in work, according to City Manager Brad Haven.
The new fee will generate about $114,000, annually.
If the cost of having sewage treated at Moccasin Bend does increase by a large factor in the future, the City Council may have to review the fee, according to Mayor Bill Glascock.
"If it goes ... up, we'll have to reassess," Glascock said.