Indiana American Water announced it is moving forward with its acquisition of the Charlestown water system after a favorable ruling on December 31, 2018 from the Indiana Court of Appeals denied the NOW! nonprofit group’s lawsuit to block the sale. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved the sale in March of last year for $13.4 million.
Charlestown’s appraiseral valued the water utility’s property at about $13.5 million – Indiana-American agreed to pay about $13.4 million – the appraised price minus the value of wells and pumps the city would retain and lease to Indiana-American.
In a 27-page opinion, the Appeals panel concluded that the sale price was reasonable; that appraisal information had been made available to the public; and that Charlestown’s public hearings on the proposed sale were timely.
“We are obviously pleased with the ruling from the Indiana Court of Appeals and look forward to closing on the acquisition as soon as possible,” said Indiana American Water President Deborah Dewey. “After the closing, we plan to do a complete evaluation and develop the best solutions for keeping our commitment to solving the system’s water quality and water age issues as quickly as possible.”
According to a release from Indiana American Water, Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall is also enthusiastic about moving forward with the sale. “The water issues that Charlestown is dealing with aren’t new. It’s been a challenge for more than 50 years, and while it isn’t going to be solved overnight, we are committed to working with Indiana American Water to do whatever it takes to address the town’s infrastructure and water quality needs.”
“The proceeds from the sale and the new tax revenues that will be coming in from Indiana American Water will also help Charlestown to address issues with our sewer system and other pressing community needs,” Hall continued. “This partnership represents a new chapter for our community and I am looking forward to the new opportunities for growth, prosperity, and a thriving economy that the sale will help bring about.”
NOW! representative John Croucher issued the following statement regarding the water sale via their public Facebook group:
“The proposed sale of the Water is not a done deal yet. There are several options available to address the failure of our elected officials, who are ignoring the customers in favor of using the money for other less important initiatives.”
Croucher states that NOW has met with their lawyer to discuss and decide further action to save the Public Water Utility from being sold. “We are not done yet.”
Indiana American Water, a subsidiary of American Water is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state.