Artesian proposes purchase of Frankford water plant

The Frankford Town Council is planning to hold an informational meeting regarding the response it has received to its request for a proposal from Artesian Water Co.

Town Council President Joanne Bacon said the meeting, which would be open to the public, could be the precursor to a possible public referendum on whether the Town agrees to sell its water plant to Artesian.

The Town received a response to its request for proposals from Artesian in November. While the council has not voted on the proposal yet, some of the details were discussed at the November council meeting.

“We’d be paying a little bit less than we’re paying now for our water,” Council Vice President Greg Welch said at the Nov. 4 meeting. The current rate is 0.01268 cents per 1,000 gallons.

At the November meeting, Council President Joanne Bacon said, “I really hope the public gets involved with this; I think it’s necessary.”

The Town has a committee to review the Artesian proposal, but it has not yet met to do so. Bacon said at the December council meeting that the Town is considering holding a referendum on whether to accept the proposal. Included in the proposal is the purchase of the Town’s water plant for $3.6 million, Welch had said in November.

Artesian was the only company to submit a proposal by the Oct. 23 deadline, Welch said. Within the document are lengthy explanations of how Frankford would fit into the company’s current plans to serve the Dagsboro and Selbyville areas, as well as the expansion of its facilities there, he said.

“I don’t think anybody would have proposed as much,” Welch said, “because we are geographically set for this company. With what they’ve got all around us, I don’t think anybody else could propose quite what they did.”

David Spacht, vice president of Artesian Wastewater Management, acknowledged the proposal but declined to comment further.

At the Dec. 2 meeting, Bacon said the council will schedule an informational meeting, possibly sometime in January, between town officials, the town’s committee for reviewing the proposal, the town solicitor and Artesian representatives. That meeting will be open to the public. Bacon encouraged town residents to attend so that their questions can be answered and their input received in advance of a possible referendum on the Artesian proposal.

 

By Kerin Magill
Staff Reporter