Water Ban Violators Could See Fine on Water Bills

CUMMING, Ga. (AP) _ People who violate the water ban in Forsyth County could see the fine included on their water bills.

The change to put the fine directly on the water bill is being considered because water police are spending so much time in court as residents protest the fines.

Under the change, people would be able to protest the fines they are assessed. But instead of pleading in court, they would have to pay the fine and then appeal to a new tribunal to seek a refund.

Forsyth County Commission Chairman Charles Laughinghouse says
sometimes 30 people from the water department are sitting in Magistrate Court. As of October, the county had issued 2,265 warnings to water violators this year. About 165 citations had gone to Magistrate Court.

Violators are expected to appear in Magistrate Court, but they can avoid a court appearance by paying the fine.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard says about 25 percent of offenders appear before the magistrate.

Jarrard will present a proposal to the County Commission that would include establishing a tribunal, where citations could be appealed.

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