After years of conflict with Monarch Utilities over high water rates, city officials and the company have agreed to transfer ownership of the water system to the small blue-collar community in northwest Tarrant County.
On Tuesday in a special meeting, the City Council voted 5-0 to accept the sales agreement.
Mayor Alan Hooks said the purchase price is $5.9 million and will be paid over 25 years.
Hooks said the city borrowed $600,000 to make a down payment and to buy equipment for the city’s water system.
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“I never figured that this day would come. I’ve worked on this for so long,” Hooks said.
The state Public Utility Commission must approve the agreement. Officials with the city and Southwest Water, Monarch Utilities’ parent company, said the sale should be final by January 2016. Monarch will operate the water system until then.
Hooks said that he was happy with the agreement and that he will focus on buying equipment and a prefab building to house the new city water department. last phrase new
“We don’t have trucks or a crew yet,” he said. Blue Mound will also have to buy software for billing the water customers.
The council also voted to hire a water superintendent.
Asked how the private water company and Blue Mound agreed on the purchase, Hooks said state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, asked that the parties work out their differences. The meeting took place last summer, and negotiations continued to move forward, Hooks said.
In a statement Tuesday night, Monarch President Charles W. Profilet Jr. said: “Monarch Utilities is committed to helping the communities in which we operate grow in economically sound, sustainable ways. We look forward to working with the City of Blue Mound over the next year to make this a smooth transition that is seamless to customers.”
Profilet also thanked Geren “for his leadership in bringing the parties together.”
Geren said Tuesday that he has been dealing with Blue Mound and various owners of the water system during his 14 years in the Legislature.
“I’m glad they were able to work things out,” he said.
Blue Mound’s water rates are about three times as high as those charged in nearby cities that buy water from Fort Worth.
Hooks said rates will remain the same for now, but the city hopes to lower rates once it takes over the system.
Monarch officials said previously that in 2012, the company invested $3.5 million in plant and equipment improvements for its water and sewer systems statewide. In Blue Mound, Monarch invested more than $900,000 in capital improvements since the system was acquired from Tecon, another water provider, in 2005, Monarch said.
Blue Mound, a city of about 2,400, lost an attempt in court to condemn the water system. And Gov. Rick Perry vetoed legislation sponsored by Geren that would have allowed the city to take control of the certificate required by the state to operate the water system if the District Court approved the condemnation proceedings.
Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696