Mt. Vernon agrees on tentative sale of water, wastewater systems to IL American Water
Illinois American Water and the City of Mt. Vernon have announced a tentative agreement regarding the company's purchase of the city's water and wastewater systems.
MT. VERNON, IL, Feb. 4, 2015 -- On Tuesday, Feb. 3, Illinois American Water (IAW) and the City of Mt. Vernon announced a tentative agreement regarding IAW's purchase of the city's water and wastewater systems. A news conference was held yesterday afternoon in Mt. Vernon to announce the proposed agreement, which serves as an example of how public and private sectors can work together to find solutions to water and wastewater challenges.
According to Mt. Vernon officials, the proposed sale of the water and wastewater systems to IAW ensures that the city continues to meet stringent regulatory standards, while partnering with a proven private company with more than 125 years of service in Illinois. An appraisal procedure conducted under the supervision of the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) will be used to determine the purchase price. The systems serve about 6,600 customer connections and a population of 15,000 in the city.
Mt. Vernon will use the proceeds of the proposed sale to pay for other projects throughout the city and improve services without raising taxes. In addition, it will not be responsible for needed water and sanitary sewer repairs and upgrades, resulting in considerable savings in the short and long term.
The ICC appraisal and approval process is expected to be completed by early 2016, according to IAW officials. The appraisal procedure for valuing water systems was established as part of the Illinois Water Systems Viability Act, signed into Illinois law in August 2013. The law gives communities an alternative to value their water and/or wastewater systems when considering acquisition by an investor-owned water and/or wastewater utility.
Bruce Hauk, IAW president, explained, "Previous law only allowed the investor-owned utility to pay the original cost minus depreciation to acquire a small system, public or private. Because of this, communities were deprived of receiving adequate value for their system." Mayor Mary Jane Chesley agreed, commenting that "The challenges we are facing are exactly why the Systems Viability Act was passed. The timing of this partnership is beneficial to our community."
If the sale is approved by the ICC, IAW would continue to make needed investments in infrastructure to ensure that the water and wastewater systems are maintained and upgraded as appropriate. Following ICC approval, IAW will hold a community meeting so customers can meet representatives from the company and ask questions about their water and wastewater service. The company also plans to send an information packet to new customers.
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About American Water
Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs approximately 6,600 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 14 million people in more than 40 states as well as parts of Canada. For more information, visit www.amwater.com.