New agreement proposed for Culkin Water to take over Ceres water system
Published 3:06 pm Wednesday, December 18, 2019
In 2014, the Warren County Port Commission, Warren County Board of Supervisors and Culkin Water District reached an agreement on how one day, the water district would take over ownership and operation of a 300,000-gallon water tank and water system at Ceres Industrial Complex.
The intent first agreed upon more than five years ago now appears closer to becoming a reality.
The original agreement called for the groups to a reasonable share in the cost of the refurbishing of the 300,000-gallon water tank and then work to transfer the tank and other water system assets to the district. But, earlier this year, supervisors decided — against the wishes of the commission — to bear the full cost of the tank refurbishing without Culkin contributing to the repairs.
Following Tuesday’s Port Commission meeting, Port Commission Executive Director Pablo Diaz said the refurbishing project should be completed sometime in January and will be in good shape ahead of an expected inspection by the state.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Mack Varner, attorney for the Port Commission, unveiled a new agreement between the three agencies that would eventually supersede the 2014 agreement.
In it, the parties agree to transfer the refurbished 300,000-gallon water tank, assets and rights of way on or below the assets to the Culkin Water District. Culkin would agree to accept the assets and continue to provide water service to industrial customers in the complex at fair-market prices.
“This, in turn, will accomplish what we have wanted from the beginning,” Varner said, “to get out of the water business.”
Varner told port commissioners he and Blake Teller, attorney for the Board of Supervisors, had hashed out many of the details of the agreement but had not had much help from the water district in finalizing details.
In a unanimous vote, the port commissioners approved the agreement, which will now likely be presented to the new Board of Supervisors when they take their seats in early January. If approved by the county, it would then be passed on to Culkin.
While the agreement does call for the transfer of the park’s water system assets it does not include the 500,000-gallon water tank also located in the park.