WARREN — A private water company is asking Trumbull County commissioners to consider an $8 million sale of the Southeastern Public Water System, which serves Brookfield, Vienna and Harbor, according to a proposal sent to the county’s sanitation engineers All or part of Dezhen is supplied with water. .
Aqua Ohio Inc.’s president, Robert Davis, said in a March 14 letter to the county that the company was ready to take ownership, committing to infrastructure investments and having the ability to negotiate water prices.
Trustees in these communities want to work with Aqua to provide high-quality water service to their constituents through a unified water provider and to expand water service in their townships to support economic development, the letter said.
“About a year ago, the trustees of the South East Water District approached us to determine if we were interested in supplying water,” Davis said Friday. “Sent to the commissioner is a high-level, non-binding letter of intent to determine the county’s interest in selling the system.”
The $8 million price in the letter could be a starting point for negotiations, he said. Once it is determined whether the county is considering selling the infrastructure, an actual proposal with a price will be given. At that point, they will negotiate what infrastructure improvements, water bills and other costs may be needed.
Aqua Ohio now provides service and water to Struthers, Campbell, Lowellville and Canfield in Mahoning County. It requires eligibility requirements to be considered in Jackson and Milton Township and Mahoning County.
Aqua is present in seven states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, Indiana, Virginia and Ohio. With over 500,000 customers, Aqua Ohio has the second largest customer in the corporate system.
Vienna trustee Phil Pegg said the interest in getting water from Aqua was due to his belief that the water supply from Niles by the Mahoning Valley Sanitation District was – in his words – very poor.
“In my case, I’ve had to replace at least three tanks in the last three years,” He said. “It’s very, very bad water.”
Peg said township residents and trustees have met with Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Foda and Sanitary Engineer Gary Newbro to discuss their concerns.
“The calcium content of water is about 11,” He said. “It’s like drinking chalk.”
When MVSD became Vienna’s water supplier through Niles, the townspeople had to pay for the waterline to bring water from MVSD into Vienna, Pegg said. The Southeast Water District was supplied by Aqua Shenango before Niles supplied water.
“They put in a new calcium remover and the water quality has improved, but it’s not enough,” He said.
Peg said Vienna had three concerns: poor water quality, a lack of investment in the southeast and concerns about annexation attempts by Niles and his business backers.
Pegg said this is the perfect time to discuss service in the Southeast as the initial 20-year contract with Niles/MVSD is coming to an end.
Hubbard Township Trustee Chair Rick Hernandez also expressed interest in the county’s partnership with Aqua Ohio so townspeople can have access to clean water.
“I would personally support it,” Hernandez said. “However, as a board, we are not taking a position on this.”
Hernandez said there have been some discussions with the Brookfield trustees over the past six months, but those discussions have not resumed.
“Some residents of the town have problems with their wells,” Hernandez said.
Brookfield trustee Dan Suttles also stressed that its board has yet to take a position on whether it would recommend to commissioners the sale of its water and sewer lines to Aqua Ohio.
“We’ve worked with Vienna and Hubbard Town,” Suter said. “I would like to point out that I am personally very satisfied with the services the Trumbull County Health System is currently providing.”
He noted that some areas of Brookfield are currently served by Aqua Ohio, while others are served by Trumbull County.
Commissioner Mauro Cantara Mesa said the change will affect the Southeast Water District’s estimated 3,000 Trumbull County customers.
“The region has paid more than $50 million for improvements since its inception, and these customers deserve the best quality and service,” He said. “Any proposal to take over the area needs to reflect these improvements and the other financial burden the county will incur.”
According to Cantalamessa, until 2006, Aqua Shenango was the bulk water supplier to these towns. The company has raised interest rates several times. He noted that Aqua is a public company whose interests are maximizing its profits.
“We’ve made great strides in this area because it’s related to overall water quality and has significantly reduced water runoff,” Cantara Mesa said. “Everyone needs to look carefully at the previous numbers and decide if this is the best option, not only in the short term but in the longer term.”
Commissioner Niki Frenchko said the proposal seemed unreasonably low.
She said she was not aware of any voters who had contacted the commissioner’s office to say they wanted Aqua, and the commissioner had not received any approval resolutions from the township.
“I think (township) voters should be informed that their trustees are considering making such a major change,” she says.
It is believed that privatization makes sense in certain circumstances, but Franchico does not believe that privatization makes sense in such circumstances.
“Aqua has no competition when it comes to reducing costs for customers,” she says. “Once you have you, users are at their mercy. We are conducting a rate study to balance rates across the county, which will adversely affect rates for all Trumbull County customers selling well-performing areas. “
Fuda said he had to talk to Newbrough about Aqua Ohio’s water bill. “Its water bills are higher than what we charge,” Fuda said.
Cantalamessa said the monthly water bill for one customer in the Southeast is currently $43.10 per 5,000 gallons.
According to Cantalamessa, the same usage in Aqua’s Mussoorie section is $54.05 per 5,000 gallons.
In Mahoning County, the Aqua is priced at $64.29 per 5,000 gallons, he noted.
Fuda estimates the county’s infrastructure is worth about $40 million, not the value provided.
“We (commissioners) have not discussed this,” Fuda said. “This is what was sent to us.”