Utility Authority in talks to add company to fold

Published 7:48 pm Thursday, April 3, 2008

Talks of adding Hillsdale Water Association to the Utility Authority fold of coverage and some loose ends concerning Center Water’s certificated area were discussed at Wednesday’s Utility Authority meeting.

During the meeting held at Picayune City Hall, members of Pearl River County’s Utility Authority had to table the two most prominent agenda items until representing parties for each matter were present.

Apparently the Utility Authority Board of Directors is in discussions with Hillsdale Water Authority to add that association to Utility Authority’s coverage area.

Currently, the area has residents that use water wells and on-site treatment systems, but the wells appear not to be of the highest quality, said Utility Authority Attorney Jeff Hollimon. Board member Sonny Sones said this agreement could allow those residents to take advantage of an opportunity that will not be available forever.

Part of the agreement involves the residents requesting water meters from the Utility Authority; that cost will most likely be added to the resident’s bills. Those negotiations are still underway and will continue Thursday night at 5:30 at the Hillsdale Hotel.

In another agenda item, Center Water Association engineer Jacob Smith, with O’Neal Bond Engineering, said Center Water wants to issue bonds to build a new water tank. In order for Center Water to do so, it will need to clear up a loose end.

Utility Authority Engineer Brooks Wallace said Center Water has water mains in the county that have never been added to Center Water’s certificated area. Those lines were in existence before the Utility Authority was formed. It is traditionally common practice for rural water companies to lay lines outside their area and wait to add them to their certificated area, Wallace said.

Smith said Center Water wants to have their certificated area match up with their current water main coverage area.

“They’re not trying to get anything that they don’t already have a water main on,” Smith said.

The Utility Authority board members decided to table the matter until Center Water board members are present at the next Utility Authority meeting, set for May 7, at 2 p.m. in the Poplarville City Hall.

In other business, the authority went into executive session to discuss itspart, if any, concerning litigation of a Dixie Utilities hearing coming up on April 11. After the executive session, no action was taken on the matter.