What's ahead for WG&L? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

What's ahead for WG&L?

Commissioner Roger Marietta Commissioner Roger Marietta
Commissioner Chris Pike Commissioner Chris Pike

Should Albany Water Gas and Light become a city department, like he public works department? It's a question city commissioners are contemplating.

They want make sure WG&L is run as efficiently as possible. Today, they got a look at an in-depth study about the utility and city government and how they work together.

Commissioners say the most important thing was confirmed- that residents are paying low rates. Albany city commissioners listened intently as a consultant talked about the efficiency of Water Gas and Light.

"I think it's valuable to have an outside person come in and look, because obviously there's certain personalities at the table that have an emotional issue with Water Gas and Light," said Commissioner Roger Marietta.

Right now, the city commission appoints the water gas and light board, but there's talk of the city fully taking over the utility. "Whether we have to go further or not is a matter of a degree or two. I don't think we're looking to make, and there may be some commissioners that want to make Water Gas and Light a department of the city, but I am not one of them," said Marietta.

"Obviously on both sides there's a little uncomfortableness [sic] about it, but I think at the end of the day, but working closer together the citizens benefit more from that," said Commissioner Chris Pike.

 Commissioners say whatever happens, residents won't see much of a change.

They're just trying to make sure both the city and WG&L are working together the best they can. The Carl Vinson Institute of Government conducted the study. The consultant pointed out some unresolved challenges between the two groups, along with several pros and cons of the current model.

"I think we recognized that the information that we needed wasn't flowing as sufficient as it needed to be. That there might be some economies of scales of doing some things, working together more closely and in specific departments," said Pike.

Commissioner Marietta says the study did confirm one thing- Albany residents are seeing low rates. "Water gas and light's rates are among the lowest in the state, I mean that's an important fact that the Carl Vinson Institute did confirm. And I think for the average homeowner, or the average business, having low rates is probably the number one priority." A priority they plan to keep at the very top.

Commissioners plan to discuss the study more in depth during their retreat which is at the end of the month.


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