The Mayors of Paris and Scranton signed last week a new water purchase contract ending eight years of negotiations, which were sometimes contentious, "and replacing a previous water purchase contract that expires next month.
Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers said there are stipulations in the new agreement that mean the end of water conservation for Paris residents and businesses.
"The guarantees in this contract mean we will not be on water conservation in the future," Rogers said. "It’s a win for residents of both communities. It’s the end of a lengthy negotiation and its the end of water conservation."
The agreement was signed on Thursday, April 17. The contract takes effect May 1. The previous agreement was for 30 years and the new agreement is for 20 years.
Under terms of the agreement, Paris will guarantee that Scranton can purchase 90 million gallons of water a year at a price of $1.85 for each 1,000 gallons purchased. The unit price is 47 cents higher than the unit price ($1.38 for each 1,000 gallons) under the previous contract. The contract also caps the amount of water Scranton can buy in June, July and August. The cap is 12 million gallons monthly. Rogers said the contract states that Scranton can’t have more than that amount without written permission from the Mayor of Paris. Also, under terms of the contract, if Paris has a water shortage or any other delivery problems, the city of Paris will determine how much, if any, water is drawn by Scranton, the timing of the event and the price to be charged. This section of the contract kicks in after Scranton starts purchasing water from Clarksville.
"The Scranton mayor believes they can start drawing water from Clarksville in December," Rogers said. "At that point, Clarksville becomes their primary supplier and Paris becomes their secondary supplier."
Rogers said the new contract means a minimum income of $166,500 a year for Paris.
"They’re going to want to buy as much water from us as they can because it’s going to be cheaper than what they’re going to be charged by Clarksville," Rogers said.
"My projection is that next year, we will go from making 710 million gallons a year to 486 million," Rogers said. "That’s a drop of 224 million gallons, which means, finally, no more water conservation."
Water conservation has become commonplace in Paris during the summer for the last several years.
Rogers also said that in 2010, the city generated 534 million gallons of water and sold it for $740,000. In 2015, the city is projected to generate 366 million gallons of water and sell it for $646,500 because of adjustments to existing contracts.
"If we had lost Scranton entirely, we would have lost $393,000, over half of our existing water department budget," Rogers said. "With this contract and other contracts that have been done, we have closed the gap if we would have lost Scranton entirely from about $400,000 to less than $100,000 and this contract means no more water conservation after this year."