Sale of utility will bring $13.3M in guaranteed upgrades to system.
On August 27, 2020, The City of Lawrenceville City Council announced their intention sell the City of Lawrenceville Water Distribution System to Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources. On August 31, 2020, the sale was approved at separate special called meetings by the Lawrenceville City Council and the Gwinnett County Water and Sewer Authority.
“This decision was made with the customers’ best interest in mind,” said David Still, Mayor. “Gwinnett County’s management will provide a long-term benefit to residents served by our water utility.”
With aging infrastructure, a problem many smaller utilities in the country are experiencing, the City of Lawrenceville was facing a significant water rate increase to upgrade and modernize its systems. Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources has sufficient resources to maintain, replace, rehabilitate, and upgrade the system, as necessary. Gwinnett can take advantage of a larger staff, more resources, and comprehensive programs in order to serve Lawrenceville customers.
“This is a win-win for our City of Lawrenceville water customers,” said David Still, Mayor. “With 80% of our water already being purchased from Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville has truly outgrown our system. Through this process, our water system can be immediately upgraded, no employee will lose their job, and customers continue to receive quality water along with Gwinnett County’s award-winning customer service.”
The plan includes the sale of the municipal distribution system, including water mains, valves, hydrants, and meters. The City of Lawrenceville will also transfer customer account information, billing systems, meter data, relevant easements, and GIS data over to Gwinnett County. The City will retain responsibility and ownership of the water treatment plants, storage tanks, wells, and other facilities.
In exchange for the distribution system, Gwinnett County will pay the City of Lawrenceville a one-time payment of $400,000 and guarantee a minimum of $13.3M in repairs, replacements, rehabilitation, and upgrades to the system over the next ten years. The agreement also includes the City’s receipt of property on Ezzard Street, where the County previously operated a pump station. The City currently has no formal plans for this property.
As a result of the sale, City residents will see a slight increase in their monthly bill while commercial customers will see a decrease in their monthly bill. The City plans to provide a one-time bill credit of approximately $60 (per customer account) to City of Lawrenceville residential water customers for coverage of 12 months of the expected increase. The credit is paid directly from the $400,000 received from Gwinnett County as part of the sale.
The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners will consider this agreement at its regularly scheduled meeting on September 1, 2020.
If approved, Lawrenceville residents will receive details on the transfer within the next few weeks. The transition is expected to take place by December 1, 2020. For additional information regarding the City of Lawrenceville and the sale of the water system, please visit our FAQs - Water Department Change to Gwinnett County page.