PORT VINCENT – Big changes are coming for the Village of Port Vincent's roughly 200 water customers.
The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to allow Mayor JJ Page to sign a purchase agreement with Ward 2 Water for the company to purchase the village's water well and assume responsibility for service to residents.
According to the agreement, Ward 2 will have 60 days to take over the village's water service. The company agreed to purchase the well for a price of $100,000.
"This has been in the works for over two years," Page said. "I think this is going to be better for the village and every resident, a long-term water solution. My main concern is not being able to supply these residents a clean water supply or a long-term water supply."
Port Vincent has been plagued by intermittent problems with its water system over the last two years, the mayor acknowledged.
"You know in these last two years how many breakdowns we've had, how many boil advisories we've had," he said.
Performing the necessary upgrades to secure the water supply is not something the village has the resources to accomplish with such a small revenue base.
"We just don't have the people to operate it," said Page.
The new agreement means that Ward 2 will be responsible for the upgrades including the installation of meters. The village currently charges a flat fee of $19.
The mayor conceded that consumer costs will likely rise, but he says the added service and reliability is well worth it. According to an estimate provided by Ward 2 to the board, the bill for 7,200 gallons of water would come out to $26.72.
“If you use a lot of water, yeah, your cost is going to go up,” Page said.
Page pointed out another benefit of shifting the responsibility of providing and maintaining water service away from the village when he introduced the proposed budget for the next fiscal year which begins July 1, 2019. The proposed budget comes in at $485,000, down from the current fiscal year budget which was amended at the meeting to $559,200.
"Keeping the budget below $500,000, it allows us to cut down on our accounting fees," he said. "Now with the water company not being part of the village our accounting fees should go down significantly."