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IRONTON — Aqua Water has proposed buying the Union-Rome Sewer District for $25.5 million.

The offer was made Aug. 18, 2020, to the Lawrence County Board of Commissioners, according to a letter from water system officials.

The sewer district serves about 5,000 customers in eastern Lawrence County. The board received and filed the letter during a meeting Tuesday, according to Chris Kline, county administrator and deputy county auditor.

“We consider this offer as a starting point for more formal discussions with the county, and final offers will be part of any response to the county’s request for qualifications and/or requests for proposal as part for a formal bid process,” according to Aqua Water officials including Edmund P. Kolodziej Jr., the company’s president and chief operating officer.

The company has proposed spending $10 million during the first five years of acquisition and at least $13 million during the first 10 years, according to the letter.

Aqua Water would collaborate with the county on locally negotiating a predictable and reasonable rate plan for wastewater customers for the first five years, according to the letter.

Future rate increases would be negotiated with the county, though either party would have the option of requesting the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to determine rates, according to the proposal.

Current employees would be offered jobs with Aqua providing the worker passes routine background checks, according to the proposal.

Existing customers could see a 25% increase the first year and 10% increases per year for the following four years and 3% increases in each of the next five years, according to the proposal.

In other action, the board set aside $600,000 in tax revenues from the ambulance tax for ambulance improvements, Kline said.

The board also:

  • Hired James Nyberg as part-time paramedic.
  • Signed a contract with Morrow County to hold Lawrence County prisoners at a cost of $65 per day.
  • Asked the Ohio Department of Transportation to conduct a speed study on County Road 6.
  • Approved the reappointment of Larry Wood, Danny Holschuh, Gary Riley and Ron McClintock to the county Planning Commission through the end of 2024.

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