CLAYPOOL – Town officials in Claypool are now officially exploring the idea of selling its water system to Indiana American Water – the same company that provides service to Warsaw and part of Winona Lake.
The Claypool water system has some looming repairs that are needed, and sale of the utility could provide a nest egg of sorts that could be used by the town for other improvements to the town, said Town Council member Gene Warner.
On Saturday, the town council met and heard a short presentation from Chris Harris, of Indiana American Water, about the steps involved in considering the sale.
Council on Saturday agreed to seek appraisals to assess the value of the entire utility.
Council agreed with Warner’s suggestion to turn to Jones and Henry Engineers, Fort Wayne, for part of the work, and to see if that company has suggestions about a second engineer that is needed for the appraisal process.
American Water and the town would then do their due diligence in sharing information as they prepare to consider a sales agreement.
Once the appraisals are provided, American Water would look at what the rate structure would be. “Right now, we’re real close and similar in the rate structure to what is currently paid,” Harris said.
American Water will cover the cost of appraisals and if a sale is agreed upon, the cost would be taken off the sale price, Harris said.
Harris encouraged the town to look into the company’s history of capital investment and how they work with customers who have delinquent accounts.
He said the company can set up payment plans for those who are behind. When emergency problems arise, response staff is available 24/7 in Warsaw, Harris said
The process of selling a utility is controlled by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Agency and would require a public hearing at some point.
Indiana American Water also provides service in Wabash, Kokomo and Northwest Indiana and has 310,000 customers in the state.
In another matter, the town agreed to purchase a new police vehicle and a utility vehicle. The town is purchasing a 2020 RAM 2500 and a 2020 Dodge Durango. The combined cost is $67,063. The town will finance the purchase through Crossroads Bank.
The town also agreed to purchase a new meter for $23,000 that will track wastewater influent that is released into nearby ponds.