Residents Fail to Understand Need for New Franchise Fees for Utility
The City Council of South Fulton approved a resolution to collect a 4% franchise fee from Greystone Power. In turn, coop members of Greystone are receiving letters explaining that members will see an increase in their electric bills each month. Not a bad deal when in return those dollars come back to the city to pay for city-wide services.
A number of residents are upset about paying these franchise fees. Some have gone as far as to act as if it's a betrayal of some sort. Others are saying no one told them they would be paying additional fees. The "No Campaign" against the incorporation of the City was built upon the additional fees and tax talking point. The reality is franchise fee from utilities are a fee for using the public right-of-ways of cities and towns.
So you know, under state law counties are not allowed to receive franchise fees from electric providers. Fulton County couldn't assess the fees thus South Fulton residents never paid a franchise fee to Greystone. Greystone in essence was using the public right-of-ways for free. On the flip side, Georgia Power Company customers have been paying a franchise fee all along. The unfortunate part is those fees were collected and paid out to other incorporated cities like Atlanta, East Point, College Park, etc. and not to Fulton County for the former unincorporated area. Bottom line Georgia Power customers were paying franchise fees that were used to take care of others.
The City of South Fulton is now in the position to collect franchise fees from various sources such as Greystone Power, Georgia Power, Georgia Natural Gas, Comcast, AT&T, Google Fiber, etc. and use those fee for the residents who are paying them. Any city you move into will have the same franchise fees. We all need to understand the monies that are paid will be used to better our community.