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PSC approves sale of Eugene water system

PSC approves sale of Eugene water system

February 16th, 2019 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News

The last remaining piece of the formerly incorporated town of Eugene is no longer the responsibility of Cole County government.

The Missouri Public Service Commission announced Friday it approved an agreement authorizing Confluence Rivers Utility Operating Company Inc. to purchase substantially all assets of certain water and sewer systems in seven Missouri counties — including Eugene's water system.

There are approximately 41 customers currently on the Eugene system, PSC officials said.

The commission found the proposed sale is not detrimental to the public interest.

"We considered the present troubled nature of the systems at issue and found Confluence Rivers has a sound track record in rehabilitating similarly situated systems," according to a statement in a PSC news release.

Current water and sewer rates will stay the same as a result of the agreement approved by the PSC. Rates could change in the future if Confluence Rivers files a rate request with the PSC.

In the 2019 budget for Cole County, the County Commission set aside money to operate the Eugene system until a sale was final.

In April, the commission approved an agreement allowing for the takeover of the operation once PSC approval was given.

Confluence Rivers is based out of St. Ann and works within the standards set by federal and state regulatory agencies, such as the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Public Service Commission and others, to help under-served communities achieve and maintain compliant water or wastewater facilities, according to the company's corporate website.

The county has been trying to sell the service since 1997, when Eugene became unincorporated. The water system loses money due to its small number of customers, some of whom do not pay for the service, and an aging infrastructure.

Cole County Auditor Kristen Berhorst said commissioners included $77,000 in the county's 2019 budget for operations of the system.

If they don't use all the money, she said, the remaining money goes back to the general fund to pay off any debt the system may have incurred.