Aqua's Tom Bruns says a transfer of Aboite customers to city water service could be costly for all Fort Wayne residents.
Bruns told WFFT today the move towards condemnation caught him by surprise.
He says it doesn't make sense for taxpayers to pay tens of millions of dollars to acquire such a small area.
Bruns says he is surprised at the city's plans to condemn- and potentially acquire- Aboite Township customers in southwest Fort Wayne.
Today Bruns responded to henry's claims that Aqua had failed the nearly 1300 Aboite households.
"We think that with the upgrades that have been made there in the past few years and the water quality testing that were recently done, that our water stacks up against Fort Wayne very well, and we don't see a reason for a takeover by the city," Bruns says.
Bruns says Aqua's problems this summer are fixed; It added a new well that provides half a million gallons of water daily.
He says it could cost the city over $60 million to take over Aboite customers.
Bruns also says the city utility plans multiple rate increases over the next several years.
"And we just can't see, no matter how you do the math, that you can provide for a rate increase for people in Aboite township and at the same time, everyone else's rates are going to go up as well. It just doesn't seem possible," Bruns says.
City spokesperson John Perlich says the numbers add up.
"We certainly stand by our cost estimates that a current Aqua Indiana customer, if they were to become a City Utilities customer, would save between $160 to $220 annually on their water bill," Perlich says.
He says despite Aqua's improvements, its system still needs a lot of work, and Aqua customers would be the one's paying for it all.
"And we would anticipate that with needed improvements that they need in their system that they will be looking to continue to make rate increases that will be passed on to their customers," Perlich says.
He says the mayor's office plans to recommend condemnation by the end of the year.
From there, Perlich says he expects the city council to examine the condemnation in the early part of next year.
Now, he says if Aqua cooperates, it can all be done within the year.
But if not, and it goes to court, it can take three to five years for Aboite to be on city water.