JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — The City of Johns Creek is finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for implementation of a stormwater utility.
Stormwater has been an ongoing issue in Johns Creek, consistently at the forefront of the city’s agenda.
At a March 22 work session, the City Council moved forward with a contract amendment with Jacobs Engineering Group professional services to make the stormwater utility a division of the Public Works Department.
Jacobs has experience providing stormwater services and managing stormwater repairs which will be the core of the city’s stormwater utility. While contracting an outside firm can be more expensive than using insourced staff, city officials say Jacobs’ experience will reduce delays and avoid months of training.
In addition, Jacobs has significant knowledge of the city’s stormwater system and is familiar with the council’s level of expectations.
Several council members told the city staff negotiating the Jacobs contract that they had a preference for a short-term agreement that would allow the city to assume management of the utility after the initial start-up.
As recommended by the City Manager’s Office, the council landed on a three-year extension, the middle ground on duration and expense, at an annual cost of $490,000.
Councilman John Bradberry asked Assistant City Manager Kimberly Greer what these changes will bring about and how the city will change how it’s handling stormwater issues.
“We're going from $80,000 a year of repair and maintenance projects to at least $1.59 million a year,” Greer said. “So, the largest shift is dialing up the number of repair and maintenance projects.”
Although the contract with Jacobs is set for renewals in October, they agreed to begin stormwater services earlier once their staffing is complete. The company estimated this to be around the first of August, but the council has pushed them to begin in July if possible.
Based on the anticipated staff addition, a minimum of three more trucks will be necessary. The council agreed the city should purchase the trucks.
The city has begun its outreach and education program with informative flyers, videos and a section on the city’s website for questions and updates.
The three-year agreement with Jacobs will require a contract amendment and will be brought to the next City Council meeting on April 5. The city expects to discuss billing in April and adopt or consider adopting the stormwater utility in May.