Sandy Springs mayor says battles with Atlanta over water rates a factor in run for reelection

On Monday, Mayor Rusty Paul announced he will seek a third term. Paul said the pandemic slowed initiatives that he wants to see resolved as mayor such as the city’s continuing court battle with Atlanta over high water rates and a deteriorating water system. The mayor is shown here at his office in May 2017, displaying concept photographs for Sandy Springs City Center. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Combined ShapeCaption
On Monday, Mayor Rusty Paul announced he will seek a third term. Paul said the pandemic slowed initiatives that he wants to see resolved as mayor such as the city’s continuing court battle with Atlanta over high water rates and a deteriorating water system. The mayor is shown here at his office in May 2017, displaying concept photographs for Sandy Springs City Center. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

The mayor of Sandy Spring said the city’s unfinished business in court with Atlanta led to his decision to run for reelection.

On Monday, Mayor Rusty Paul announced he will seek a third term. Paul said the pandemic slowed initiatives that he wants to see resolved as mayor such as the city’s continuing court battle with Atlanta over high water rates and a deteriorating water system.

Sandy Springs is awaiting a date for an arbitration meeting, Paul said.

Atlanta had a contract to provide water to Sandy Springs while it was a part of unincorporated Fulton County and has continued to provide water to the city since it incorporated in 2005. Sandy Springs wants a memorandum of understanding with Atlanta which Paul says would give the city a say in how the water system is maintained and how rates are charged to residents.

“They have refused to engage us in conversation about that, so we’re going to have to use the courts to get control of the system,” Paul said. “That’s crucial to the lifeblood of this community. If we can’t control our water, if we can’t provide reasonable access at affordable rates, that’s the most important thing that any community ever has.”

The mayor made his announcement for reelection outside City Hall. He’s the second mayor of Sandy Springs and succeeded the late Eva Galambos, who encouraged him to run for office when she retired in 2013. He had previously served on Sandy Springs’ founding City Council.

The current terms of all Sandy Springs City Council members end this year. Council members Tibby De Julio and Jody Reichel have announced they plan to run for reelection in November.