With a 5-1 vote, the Paris City Council authorized Mayor Daniel Rogers to negotiate a new water purchase agreement with Scranton. The vote took place during the Monday, July 1 City Council meeting.
The only Alderman to vote no was Bret Sullivan.
The contract to be negotiated will take the place of the current water purchase agreement between the two cities that ends in the spring of 2014.
Paris and Scranton have been talking about a new water purchase agreement since 2007. The discussions have, at times, been contentious. Scranton has entered into a contract with Clarksville to purchase water after the contract with Paris expires.The infrastructure to bring Clarksville water to Scranton is under construction. Under a new deal, Paris becomes Scranton’s secondary source of water.
Rogers believes a new deal can be struck quickly.
"I have talked with Scranton Mayor David Corbitt and I think we’ll be able to get this done," Rogers said. "Hopefully in the next month or so, we can send them something to sign."
In late May, the Scranton City Council approved signing a new contract with Paris based on terms discussed between Rogers and Corbitt.
Under those terms, Scranton can purchase a minimum of 90 million gallons a year at a rate not lower than $1.85 for each thousand gallons. That amount purchased would bring $166,500 annually to the city of Paris, according to Rogers.Under the present contract, Scranton purchases a minimum of 144,000 gallons annually at a price of $1.38 for each thousand gallons.
"Right now, we’re their only supplier and they’re buying more than the minimum," Rogers said. "They’re buying about $300,000 worth of water a year."
Under the new contract, "Scranton will be our largest customer, by far," Rogers said.
"The contract doesn’t keep them from buying more than 90 million gallons a year," Rogers said. "That’s just a minimum."
Rogers also said the new deal with Scranton will include safeguards to protect Paris’ water supply in the event water conservation becomes necessary.
"It’s a surplus water contract," Rogers said. "They have another source of water in the event we run into problems."
Rogers said the new contract would be a "win" for Paris, Scranton and the East Logan Water Users Association, which is Scranton’s second largest water customer.
"It’s a win for everybody in north Logan County," Rogers said. "Scranton wins because they get to keep their second largest customer. East Logan wins because they don’t have to pay the higher price charged by Clarksville. Paris wins because we sell water to Scranton while protecting our water supply and it gives us a lot of security."
The new contract also means Paris won’t be losing money.
Without a Scranton contract, Paris stood to lose $300,000 a year. With a new agreement with Scranton, and with other rate adjustments with other outside purchasers, the city’s loss is cut to about $93,000, Rogers said.
"With a new contract, we’re going to make up the bulk of what we would have lost if we had no contract at all with Scranton," Rogers said.