Town of Claypool Considering Selling Water Utility

Photo: Nick Deranek/News Now Warsaw

Claypool Town Council decided Saturday to look into selling its water utility to Indiana American Water (IAW).

The council voted at the special meeting to seek appraisals for how much the water utility is worth. IAW Operation Superintendent Chris Harrison spoke to the council regarding the possible sale and the appraisals.

Two engineering companies will be needed to look at things like the “assets in the ground, the cost of the water tower” and the cost of living in Claypool, Harrison said. Councilman Gene Warner suggested having Jones & Henry Engineers Ltd., Fort Wayne, be one of the engineering companies to do the appraisal since the town has worked with them in the past. The council could ask Jones & Henry Engineers Ltd. if they’d suggest another engineering company they’d be willing to work with. Otherwise, the town council could pick a second engineering company from a list provided by Harrison that IAW has worked with before. The town council approved going that route.

Part of Saturday’s meeting revolved around revenue in regards to the water utility.
“What we’re doing with this process is trying to identify revenue streams that can be generated for the council, for the town as a whole,” Harrison said. One way selling the water utility would generate revenue is IAW does pay taxes in the communities it owns water utilities in.

Once the appraisals are in, Harrison said they could look at the potential rates Claypool residents would pay with the utility company. “Right now, we’re real close, real similar to the rate structure they currently pay,” he said. “We’re exploring options. We’re exploring what your vision is for the town of Claypool moving forward and can Indiana American Water be apart of that.” The cost of the appraisals also were discussed.

Harrison said IAW would advance the funds for the appraisals, with an estimated cost of $10,000 to $15,000. If the town council chooses not to sell to the company, IAW will absorb the cost. However, if the town does choose to sell, the company will look to be reimbursed for the cost.

“If you decide to sell, it would come off the price of the sale,” Harrison said. After the return of the appraisal, Harrison said the town council has 90 days to make a decision whether to sell the utility to IAW.

The town council also approved to finance the purchase of a utility vehicle and a police vehicle through Crossroads Bank, along with the bedlining and graphic work. The purchase of the vehicles is $67,063. The bedliner and graphic work will be $15,664.32. The next town board meeting is 7 p.m. today.