Sunday, March 28, 2010

Toilet Rebates Save 54 Million Gallons

Gwinnett residents are now saving 54 million gallons of water every year thanks to a rebate program that started two years ago. The rebates pay homeowners either $50 or $100 for replacing old, inefficient toilets. About 5,000 have been replaced so far.

Water Resources Deputy Director Peter Frank said the more efficient toilets save the average customer about 15 percent on the water bill and help reduce demand for water from Lake Lanier. He said the County has spent about $400,000 on the program since it began and the savings are well worth the investment. The department is budgeting $300,000 each year to pay rebates on a first-come, first-served basis.

Board Chairman Charles Bannister praised county residents for conserving water and urged everyone with a pre-1992 home to take advantage of this effective program. Details and an application are online at www.northgeorgiawater.com or by calling 404.463.8645 or e-mail at toiletrebate@northgeorgiawater.org.

Water Resources also promoted “Fix a Leak Week,” which was March 15 – 21, as an annual reminder to check household plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks. “A single home with dripping faucets and toilets that don’t shut off can waste as much as 10,000 gallons a year,” Frank said. Gwinnett’s annual water use of 26 billion gallons was 18 percent lower last year than in 2007.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Precinct, Poll Location Changes will Affect Almost 42,000 Voters

Gwinnett County will reduce the number of voting precincts from 163 to 155 to save money and operate more efficiently. In about 15 precincts, poll locations will change for various reasons. “These changes will affect about ten percent of Gwinnett voters,” said Elections Director Lynn Ledford, “so we want to notify people that they’ll get an official postcard in the mail if they are affected.”

Early and absentee voting now makes it possible to consolidate some locations without creating long delays on Election Day, Ledford said. Absentee/Early voting ballots are available for 45 days before an election through the Elections Office, 455 Grayson Highway in Lawrenceville. Applications for mail-out ballots are available now for primary election absentee ballots. Details are online at www.gwinnettcounty.com.

Early voting for next summer’s primary election will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 12 –16 and for the general election on Oct. 25 – 29. During these weeks, there will be four locations, in addition to the Elections Office, for early voting: Centerville Community Center, Dacula Activity Building, George Pierce Community Center and Lucky Shoals Community Center.

Signs and maps will be posted on Election Day at all old and new polling locations where changes have been made. Poll locations sometimes change based on the availability or cost of using a facility. Most precincts are small enough that new locations will still be relatively close to most voters in that precinct.

Citizens who aren’t registered to vote can get a voter registration form online but must return it by mail or in person. The deadline for registration is June 21 to vote in the primary and Oct. 4 for the general election. Information on how to become a paid poll worker is available at pollofficials@gwinnettcounty.com.

“We understand these changes could cause confusion so we want voters to be aware of the situation. These improvements will help control costs and make us more efficient,” Ledford said.