Westfield Mayor Andy Cook announced last month that the city is exploring the idea of transferring water and sewer supply to a private sector company.
According to Cook, the potential transfer or sale is one that many cities are exploring or have already implemented.
“Many cities are faced with meeting the demands of growth,” Cook said in April. “Outsourcing management or ownership of certain water and sewer assets could help the city provide growth more efficiently.”
However, a recent ordinance has already been implemented, and is currently in effect, to increase water and wastewater charges in small increments over a 5-year span.
Westfield Mayor Andy Cook addresses some questions about the proposed transfer of utilities:
Q: Are the recent increases in water and sewer fees enough to cover the debt owed on utilities?
A: No. The increases were adopted to cover the $30 million, five-year capital needs for the growth of Westfield.
Q: If a private company is selected to run the utilities, what will Westfield do with the funds it receives?
A: Funds from a potential sale could be allocated for traffic intersection improvements, including roundabouts, expanding the linear park system and the possible acceleration for the completion of Grand Park.
In the meantime, Cook said eight companies from across the country have committed to making proposals, and negotiations are expected to happen during the next six weeks.
“During the next six weeks we will entertain the proposals, we will evaluate the proposals and narrow it down to the best two or three proposals, and then we will decide what’s best to do for the community in the long term,” Cook said. “We plan to have a workable proposal evaluation recommended to me and the council in August.”