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May 15, 2013

Water company purchase mulled in Sellersburg

Town looking at new logo

SELLERSBURG —

More in the way of water works was at issue during the Sellersburg Town Council meeting this week, but final decisions remain.

The Sellersburg Town Council addressed the potential purchase of Riverside Water Co. in Jeffersonville, an offer which has previously been presented to the council. 

Sellersburg Town Council Attorney Jake Elder notified the town council in March that Riverside Water, a Jeffersonville-based water wholesaler, had reached out to the town to see if it was willing to buy the private water company. A previous attempt to negotiate a deal between the company and Sellersburg was not successful.

But in reviewing the offer to take control of the water company, Sellersburg is conducting two studies.

According to the town council, an engineering study of the system and a fiscal review of the water company is underway. The determination the council is wanting is how purchasing the company will affect Sellersburg water customers.

The town already provides the water to Riverside, and by buying the water company the town would add about 1,300 customers, increase revenues and increase bonding capacity. In turn it is expected that water rate increases anticipated for a $5 million bond being sought for water system improvements would be lowered. 

The town has been seeking the bond to complete improvements to the town’s water-treatment plant; drilling for two new supply wells; construction of a new booster station; a new 500,000-gallon water storage tank; and to refurbish two of its existing water tanks.

“Initially, it looks like it’s going to be a plus, but we want that study to confirm that,” said Sellersburg Town Council President Paul Rhodes of the fiscal impact.

Umbaugh and Associates, which is conducting the water rate study for Sellersburg, has also been asked to review the fiscal impact of purchasing Riverside Water. According to the water rate study, to pay the bond the rates for town residents, based on 5,000 gallons of water usage, would increase from $13.25 to $27 without the addition of Riverside Water Company. An ordinance adopting a new rate for the town has yet to be approved.

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