Sunday, October 19, 2008

Water Company Buyout Being Considered Again

My position hasn't changed since 2005. Basically, the city has enough on their hands to "handle" without owning the water company, appointing a committee to hire a company to run the water company who may or may not be better than Illinois-American Water Company, monitor the new committees activities and MAYBE make a profit or maybe stick the taxpayers with more taxes to fund the NOW city owned water company.

If my reader is interested in my position, it hasn't changed since my blogs of 3/27, 3/28, 3/31, 4/21/ 6/14, 8/22, 8/23, 8/24, 8/26, 8/28, and 8/31, all in year 2005 and easily found in my sidebar archives.

And especially, my blog of 11/05/05.

And don't overlook the property taxes paid by privately owned Illinois-American Water Company in 2007, over $400,000.00, and charitable donations of over $100,000. With a city buyout, those financial benefits to the community would be gone.

On 12/28/07, just 10 months ago, USA reported "Big hikes in water rates are on tap
, artificially low prices, failing systems cited". The problem: Many municipally owned systems have treated rate hikes like tax increases and avoided them for years. The GAO estimates that 20% of water systems charge customer less than the cost of service. These money losing systems have no way to finance expensive repairs without delivering a rate shock to customers".

What very well could happen to Peoria if it bought out the water company is what happened in Atlanta, Ga. "Atlanta is investing $3.9 billion in its system. Atlanta voters approved a 1 cent sales tax increase to limit this year's rate hike to 10%. Otherwise, it would have jumped 43%".

Watch carefully who is going to push for a buyout this year. These individuals and companies stand to benefit if the private owned water company goes public. Then it would no longer be under the control of the Illinois Commerce Commission. All kinds of "games" could then be played as to where public water could be run to benefit certain "special interests".

It will be interesting to see what position the "acting city manager" takes on this project.

Here is a list of the people who originally wanted the city to buy the company:

Dale and Shirley Burklland
Michael Cullinan
Cullinan Construction Company
Cullinan Comapanies, LLC, prominent developers
Rita Kress or one of her companies
D.A. Hoerr and Sons
Ted Fleming - deceased
Tom Lund
Otto Baum and Company
Wayne Oberlander
South Side Bank
Gerald and Helen Stephens

This group who paid for the buyout study was called the PAAG and still has a lawsuit pending, I believe, against the city for $1 million claiming the city failed to do "due diligence" in voting down the buyout by a 6-5 vote.

Both Dianne Oberhelman (formerly Cullinan) and Rita Kress are rumored to have substantial land holdings in the Kickapoo-Brimfield rural area that could be developed into residential if public water were available.

Just what we need. More sprawl.

I write this blog as a Peoria city resident opposed to the city buying out the privately held water company.

Thank you for your previous vote which was dis-similair to the library vote; 80% did NOT approve of a city buyout of the water company.

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