• Neighbors fight back against $6,000 sewer fee

    By: Carl Willis


    FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - Around 200 residents attended a meeting Wednesday to fight a surprise fee they were told they would have to pay to cover upgraded sewer services.

    Residents in the Habersham neighborhood in Cumming are facing a $6,250 connection fee to keep their sewer service. 

    The city of Cumming recently took control of a private water treatment facility that it is now in the process of condemning after a fire in April.

    Neighbors got a notice in the mail telling them they'd have to pay thousands of dollars in just 60 days for a system they have already been paying into for years.

    "Many people on fixed incomes there and this is unexpected," homeowner Julie Allen said. 

    Forsyth County Commissioner Laura Semansan held a town hall meeting Wednesday for residents to address their concerns.

    "It's nice to see people are standing up," homeowner Camille Farnsworth said.

    Residents said they'll hire a lawyer to file an injunction.

    The attorney who represents the plant's previous owner promised legal action when the city files a condemnation suit.

    "The city is trying to take it for nothing, and we're going to stand up to them and try to get a just compensation award and then distribute it pro rata among our 400 customers," attorney George Butler said.

    The city's mayor and officials were invited to the meeting but did not show up. In a letter to one of the residents, they offered individual payment terms.

    "Due to the horrendous condition of the facility, this process will cost an estimated $4 million at minimum," the letter said.

    The city plans to replace the plant with a $75 million facility.

    Some residents believe there is more going on below the surface.

    "It's all about development. I think it is about the golf course. There's so much coming in they need this. They need to build on this plant," Royanne Donnelly said.

    For now, residents will have to negotiate their terms with the city as they work for a long-term solution.



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