2nd try to offload Campbell water plant

CAMPBELL — City council unanimously approved the first reading of legislation authorizing Mayor John Dill to advertise for proposals to sell or lease the municipal water treatment plant and distribution system.

The resolution, introduced at tonight's council meeting, also gives Dill the authority to negotiate with qualified public or private entities interested in buying or leasing the facility.

This is the second effort by the city to sell the water system, which Dill says it can no longer afford to operate.

The first attempt was in November 2005, when council approved the sale of the water plant and distribution system to Aqua Ohio, a private water company.

At the time, Aqua was the only entity interested, and by the time Youngstown showed an interest, there was already a contract with Aqua, Dill said.

Under the Aqua deal, Campbell was to receive a $3 million upfront payment followed by $300,000 a year for 10 years. Aqua also would have picked up the city’s $4.2 million debt for repairs and upgrades to the plant and put $100,000 a year into system improvements.

A citizens group, the Let Us Vote Committee, however, forced a referendum on the legislation selling the water system, and voters rejected the deal at the November 2006 general election.

There are two major differences this time, Dill said.

One is that two entities have expressed interest in the water plant — Aqua and Youngstown — as opposed to just Aqua before. And, Dill said, the city will pursue any other inquiries it receives.

The second difference is that the city will consider leasing the facility as well an outright sale.

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