City News

Franchise Fees Adopted To Aid City Budget

Providers of local utilities are entering into franchise fee agreements with Stonecrest officials after the mayor and council passed the final ordinance for fee adoption this week. The agreement will assess franchise fees on AT&T, Atlanta Gas Light, Snapping Shoals EMC, Comcast, and Georgia Power. The fees are paid by the utility companies for rental and use of the city's right of ways. These areas are used 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 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 passes the entire 4% fee to their customers; whereas, Georgia Power only passes a portion of that same amount to their customers. Atlanta Gas Light's agreement is already in place. Snapping Shoals EMC will enact their agreement September 1, 2017. 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.