When the Greenville Town Council decided the town’s water company would purchase a waste water treatment plant a little less than two years ago, not every one was on-board.
By his own admission the main person pushing that purchase was council member Talbotte Richardson.
Now, Richardson is making another push, this time to sell the Waste Water Treatment plant, for a profit.
Richardson said the water utility purchased the waste water plant for $525,000 and selling the facility would re-pay the water company’s initial investment and make also earn a substantial profit.
Another advantage, according to him, should major repairs be needed the company that purchases it, would be on the hook to make them and not the water company.
“Listen if we were to have a half a million or million dollar break down, the money is not there to pay for that,” Richardson said. “I was the driving force in the town making the purchase and I think getting out now, while there is profit, is the smart thing to do.”
Other council members say they don’t disagree with Richardson, but they don’t agree either.
In fact, they say it’s far to large a decision to make without crunching the numbers.
Council President David Moore said the offer of $725,000 by Buckthorne Public Service, was not put out for bid, which is just one of the things that make him hesitant to rush into a sell.
“Usually if it’s an unsolicited bid, it’s about 30 percent less than what you could get if you advertised it,” Moore said. “The thing of it is, we don’t have enough information. Talbotte was president when we bought the plant and there is not enough data to make an intelligent decision whether to sell, keep it, or whatever.”
That’s why Moore said he formed a committee headed up by Councilman Greg Redden.
“I’ve charged them with looking at the waste water plant as a whole,” he said. “They are looking at whether or not it can be profitable, if we need to put more money in it and how much, or whatever. We honestly don’t know right now. We probably won’t know for many more months. You just don’t sell something like this right out of the gate.
“We want to look at every angle, like development and things like that. Right now, we just don’t know.”
Redden agreed. He said he lives in Heritage Springs neighborhood and has spent time recently at the plant with another town board member and the plant’s operator.
“We want to be diligent,” Redden said. “We want to look at all the financials, take time to project revenue that could be generated once it’s built out and just really take the time to make a good decision.
“I won’t speak for the other board members, but I don’t know if anyone is swayed one way or the other but Talbotte, until we look at it from all angels. No one wants to jump in and sell it without all the information.”
Richardson has lobbied fellow councilmen and he even took to campaigning by sending a distributing a letter to residents in Heritage Springs.
The letter explains Richardson’s position and encourages residents to support the sell.
Redden said the final outcome could in fact be to sell the plant, but there is no hurry to rush into a decision.
In addition to the $725,000 offer, Buckthorne’s contract states that they will not raise rates more than $75 a month for the next 30 years or Dec. 31, 20145.
Moore said the council would love to hear input from the public on the matter.
The Greenville Council meets on the second Monday of every month.
The next meeting will April 13 at 7 p.m.