Charlestown moves forward on plan to sell water company, fix brown water issues
After years of problems with brown water in Charlestown, the city says it has a plan in place to fix it. But many residents are angry with the proposal.
CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WDRB) -- After years of problems with brown water in Charlestown, the city says it has a plan in place to fix it. But many residents are angry with the proposal.
Dozens of people showed up to Monday's city council meeting to protest the sale of the local water company.
"We are taking our town back and that starts now," Darlene Williams shouted at the meeting.
Williams, of No Outsourcing Water, or NOW, joined about 80 residents to demand control over the future of the Charlestown's water utility -- a company known for its problems with brown water.
"Say on the record tonight that you want this thing submitted to the voters for their approval," NOW attorney David Agnew told council members.
The city wants to sell the local water utility to Indiana American Water for $13.4 million dollars. Fearing bills will skyrocket, customers wore stickers Monday that read "Take Back the Tap" and held signs that said, "NO to outsourcing."
"We deserve a right to vote whether we sell our utility or not," Williams said. "It belongs to the people of this town that have paid for it."
The vote passed 4-1.
Mayor Bob Hall says the city plans to use part of the proceeds to give customers rate credits in the first year.
"Regardless of whether Indiana American is involved or not, rates were going to go up," Hall told the crowd in attendance. "Having them involved, though, would be a lot less than what they will when you combine the bills."
Indiana American Water promises to pay $7.2 million dollars over 5 years to fix bad water lines.
"To serve the residents of Charlestown, we are committed to doing whatever it takes to resolve the water quality issues," said Deborah Dewey, President of Indiana American Water.
Expressing shock and anger, some residents walked out of the meeting. But city officials say the plan is best for everyone.
"We had what, 80 people here out of the 8,000 (Charlestown residents)," Hall said. "We have heard from a lot of people, a lot of people who say, do whatever it takes to fix it, we trust what you're doing."
City council will take a final vote on the resolution on Thursday.
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