[media-credit id=18 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]After more than 90 minutes behind closed doors Tuesday night, Tega Cay City Council has unanmimously voted to take the first steps forward in buying an ailing private sewer system.
Council members negotiated the purchase price of the system to $5.85 million, down from an original $7.68 million.
“This is a huge decision for the City of Tega Cay,” said mayor George Sheppard. “It is probably the largest decision the city has made in 30 years.”
The system, owned by Northbrook, Ill.-based Utilities, Inc., is frequently the subject of major sewage overflows following heavy rains — sewage overflows that gravity moves right into Lake Wylie.
“We are on the right track” said Linda Stevenson, head of an all-volunteer Tega Cay Water Sewer Citizens Advisory Board. “We won’t have to deal with them anymore. And the city will have to look after the citizens because we are the people that elect them.”
Stevenson formed the board in 2006, directly urging Utilities, Inc. management to sell the sewer system to the City of Tega Cay. The attempt failed twice.
But this year, efforts moved forward with Utilities, Inc. publicly naming a sale price of $7.68 million. Mayor Sheppard said this time, the city had all the pieces in place to negotiate and agree on an offer.
“We are financially in a better position than we have been in the past 30 years and we are able to make a decision that is right — as opposed to just making a decision because we think we should.”
Seller and buyer contingencies for the closing have yet to be determined, city manager Charlie Funderburk said. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Public Service Commission must both sign off on the sale. City Council must also publicly vote on the final terms.
City officials will hold a Public Hearing Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Tega Cay Glennon Center to further explain the details of the sale.
Mayor Sheppard said he expects the deal with Utilities, Inc. to close within 30-45 days.