The Stonecrest City Council on Monday passed the final ordinance to enter into franchise fee agreements with local utilities including AT&T, Atlanta Gas Light, Snapping Shoals EMC, Comcast, and Georgia Power. The utility companies will pay the city for rental and use of the city’s right of ways to run cables, gas lines, and wiring needed to provide utility service to city residents and businesses.
Franchise fees range from three to five percent of a customer’s gas, telephone, cable and electric bills. This amount is set by Georgia’s Public Service Commission and is charged by most cities.
“Throughout Georgia, utility companies are required to pay these fees. The utility company determines if they pass these fees on to their customers,” said Plez Joyner, assistant city manager.
For example, Snapping Shoals EMC has decided to pass the entire 4% fee to their customers effective Sept. 1. Snapping Shoals sent out e-mails to customers informing them of the increase.
City officials said Georgia Power, however, only passes a portion of its fee to customers. Atlanta Gas Light’s agreement is already in place. Other franchise agreements for companies such as AT&T, Georgia Power, and Comcast are in the final process and should become effective within 60 days.
Franchise fees are paid directly to the city and are used to supplement the city’s operating budget. Counties are not allowed to charge these fees.