Sold to the City: Fort Wayne City Council approves Aqua Indiana take-over

By Nicole Pence

June 18, 2010 Updated Nov 28, 2007 at 12:12 AM EDT

Aqua Indiana costumers in the northern part of Fort Wayne could receive their water and sewer bills from the city as early as the end of the year. Council approved the take over and the bonds needed to buy the operation. City Council reporter Nicole Pence reports.

It's been more than five years in the making, and Tuesday night Council finalized the transaction. All eight councilmen present voted in favor of taking over Aqua Indiana’s northern operation. And, all but one member signed off on the bottom line. That's because it's still not clear how much the city will have to fork over to buy the company.

The City's appraisals put the price tag around 17-million. But, Aqua Indiana officials say that's too low, and they've filed suit against the City. If the court rules the price is more than 17-million, the City's stuck with that price... Meaning newly acquired costumers would have to pay more.

Don Schmidt/2nd District Councilman: "I don't think they should do a quick take. I think the new mayor should have a chance to weigh in. I can't sign a blank check with out knowing what the amount is. And, I fully expect the Court to come in with a significantly greater price."

Tom Hayhurst/4th District Councilman: " There is no information at all that those appraisals won't stick. I think that Aqua Indiana will, hopefully see the light and realize they are getting a good deal to sell all their facilities to Fort Wayne City Utilities. And, I think it can be a win-win for Aqua Indiana and the citizens in Fort Wayne who need a higher quality, lower cost, sewer and water product."

It's not clear how many Aqua Indiana workers will lose their jobs, or if they'll have the option to apply with the City.

In the meantime, City utility leaders say they're moving full speed ahead. A public meeting next Tuesday is scheduled to gain input from newly acquired costumers and neighborhood association presidents to iron out details of the City's take over.

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