A group of property owners has been working with Assembly Public Works to develop and circulate two petitions in support of annexation of Lake Junaluska into the Town of Waynesville. One petition is for registered voters and another for property owners. The petitions were mailed in the week of November 14. If you have not received a petition, please contact us at 828-452-5911.
IMPORTANT RATE INFORMATION
On Tuesday October 22, Assembly Public Works mailed important information concerning rates and other changes affecting the community. The text of the letter is at the bottom of this page.
LEAF VACUUM INFORMATION
The Leaf Crew is on Utah Mtn this week (December 11) and may make it to the middle section by the end of the week.
Assembly Public Works offers automatic credit card or debit card monthly utility bill payment. The software that we use to automatically pay monthly bills is changing (not at our request). Because it is a secure system managed by our bank, we do not keep any hard copy credit card information in our office. Therefore we will not be able to access the current credit card information to load into the new system. If you would like to continue or to sign up to use your credit or debit card or sign up for automatic payment after November 1, you must update your information with our office. You may fill out a form that is available HERE and mail it in, call our office or come by. We will load the information in a secure site and destroy hard copy records immediately.
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The Junaluska Assembly Community Council members are Bill King, representing The Shackford District; Jeannette Shaver, Lambuth; Pat Koonts, Utah Mountain; David Baxter, Richland ; Ken Zulla, South Lakeshore; and Jimmy Pernnell and Oscae Dowdle, At-Large. The Community Council meets the first Tuesday of each month in the Native American Room of the Bethea Welcome Center. Bill King is Chair and Pat Koonts is Vice Chair.
Strategic Master Plans
As part of an overall campus strategic plan, Lake Junaluska Assembly Public Works has developed several strategic studies. One study looks into our municipal options. The Junaluska Assembly Community Council has created a Municipal Study Task Force to gather community input on the Municipal Study.The first meeting was held April 26; and nine meetings have been held since. Numerous reports have been developed in support of the Municipal Study. All reports, minutes and presentations from the meetings are available HERE.
On March 8 the Lake Junaluska Assembly Board of Trustees voted to request that the Town of Waynesville approve extension of corporate limits to include the area known as Lake Junaluska. On March 15 Senator Davis introduced Senate Bill 290; Annexation of Lake Junaluska by the Town of Waynesville. The bill passed through the Senate but action was not completed on the bill in the House. The Bill will be considered in the 2014 short session next spring.
The Lake Junaluska Assembly Board of Directors (the Board) has just completed their fall meeting and has affirmed several recommendations from the Junaluska Assembly Community Council (the Council) that merit your immediate attention. The Council held two well attended meetings in August and September that focused on the Assembly Public Works budget and fees. The minutes and handouts provide additional details and are available at our website: www.lakejunaluskacommunity.com .
The fact that much of our infrastructure and equipment is approaching the end of its useful life and is in need of repair or replacement has been addressed extensively in our Municipal Studies and Council meetings. The information is available at our website. It is the opinion of our Board, our Council and the property owners as indicated in the survey conducted last winter that annexation into Waynesville is the desired path to address these issues. However, due to political complications, annexation will take longer to accomplish than anticipated. Therefore the Council recommended and the Board approved moving forward with capital improvements.
The water and sewer service is our most costly and vital service. Two capital improvement plans were developed with different emphases. The Cavanaugh Plan focuses on water loss and only identifies our most critical priorities. It estimated those improvements will cost approximately $180,000 per year for the next ten years. The Martin-McGill study was much broader, and based on the standards of Waynesville. It estimates costs to be approximately $563,000 per year for ten years. The Council recommended implementation of the Cavanaugh study. Our rates are based on formulas established by the NC Utility Commission who has reviewed our new rates. Water and sewer base rates fund operations and improvements and are charged to every customer regardless of usage. Beginning November 1, 2013, the base rate for water will increase from $8.65 to $21.80; base rates for sewer will increase from $8.25 to $15.26. Usage rates will be increased by 5% to cover the cost of our increasing water loss.
Our solid waste department is in deficit for this fiscal year. Changes at Haywood County Solid Waste have forced us to haul our garbage much further and have increased our expenses for labor, fuel and equipment. The Council recommended a rate increase of $3.00 per month which should bring those finances into balance and fund critically needed equipment. Brush and leaf pickup is major expense in solid waste and is addressed in an enclosed pamphlet. Landscaping contractors are responsible for hauling major cleanups, but many take advantage of our pick up service. Please share the pamphlet with your contractor and let them know that I will be happy to speak with them.
To implement our paving and equipment studies fully and to fund changes in security and administration, annual service charges will be increased from $0.33 per $100 property value to $0.3525 in 2014. The service charge bills that will be mailed on December 2013 will be at current rate of the $0.33; new rates take effect January 1, 2014 and will be billed December 2014. It is very likely that Fire Protection fees will be transferred from our monthly utility bill to our County tax bill in July 2014. The new rates will be based on property values at a rate of $0.06 per $100 value. This change affects a greater area of the county than just the Assembly.
The software that we use to automatically pay monthly bills is changing (not at our request). Because it is a secure system managed by our bank, we do not keep any hard copy credit card information in our office. Therefore we will not be able to access the current credit card information to load into the new system. If you would like to continue to use your credit or debit card or sign up for automatic payment after November 1, you must update your information with our office. You may fill out a form that is available on our website and mail it in, call our office or come by. We will load the information in a secure site and destroy hard copy records immediately.
I know that this letter is not the uplifting message that we normally enjoy sharing; however it reflects the reality of our situation. We will continue to serve this community to the best of our ability and to pursue future courses that will allow us to build a sustainable future for Lake Junaluska. We have much to be thankful for during the upcoming holiday season.
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