Town Plans Takeover Of Water Utility

Residents Concerned About Price Increases

The Town of Mooresville Town Council voted unanimously Friday afternoon to move forward with taking over water service from Indiana American Water Company.

"It's a hostile government takeover of a business," said Alan DeBoy, president of Indiana American Water Company.

The company has 3,700 customers in Mooresville, about 1 percent of their business statewide.

Some Mooresville residents have been upset over rate increases, including a recent 17 percent increase for some homeowners.

"They're taking advantage of the fact that they have a monopoly," said Gregg Terhune, president of the Community Taxpayers Association.

About 100 people attended the meeting, many who had received phone calls from the water company, but the council did not accept public comment, since they had a public hearing on Tuesday evening.

"I think the government is already too big," said Bob Luedeman, a Mooresville resident, as he entered the meeting. "They'll raise their prices."

Town Council member Virginia Perry told RTV6 she is not aware of any issues with service, but many are concerned about the rate increases.

On June 15, the average residential customer saw a 17 percent increase, with a typical bill of about $35.61.

Industrial users saw a 29 percent increase, and commercial users increased 15 percent.

"The rate increases just seem to be again and again and again," said Perry.

The town council and Indiana American Water are planning to meet, but the water company has plans to fight the take over.

"If they continue to head down the path of exercising eminent domain, we would definitely fight it vigorously," said DeBoy. "We're in the business of owning and operating water utilities, and we have no interest in selling our water utility in Mooresville."

DeBoy said rates have increased because the company has invested $4.3 million in the Mooresville water system since 2004.

Perry said she is aware of possible litigation costs to taxpayers.

"That depends on our legal counsel and how they handle the issue, how cooperative the other side is, so that's always a possibility you can't discount," said Perry.

Even with Friday's vote, the takeover is far from a done deal.

The town will now hire several appraisal companies who will appraise the water company's assets in Mooresville, including property and equipment.

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