Cobb approves water and sewer rate hike

Cobb County residents will see an 8 percent increase in their water bills and a 4 percent increase in their sewer bills starting Jan. 1. The county commission approved the rate hike Tuesday by a 5-0 vote.  Steady increases in water and sewer rates are planned through 2012.  For a homeowner using 7,000 gallons of water per month, the bill would increase about $3.16, according to the county's rate schedule. The base charge of $7 will not change.  The rate hike is needed to pay for the higher cost of fresh water charged by Cobb County's water supplier and to maintain the county's water system and pay for improvements, such as the $305 million sewer tunnel in south Cobb.    MARY LOU PICKEL