Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Keystone Voters Can Voice Opinions about Water System

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Keystone Voters Can Voice Opinions about Water System

Article excerpt

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS -- City voters will not only get an opportunity to vote for the mayor and a council member in the Dec. 7 elections, they will also get a chance to voice their opinion on the city purchasing the water system that serves not just the city, but surrounding areas as well.

The City Council has approved a non-binding referendum asking residents if they would support the purchase of Florida Water Services Inc., which serves over 1,000 customers within its Keystone Heights Water System operation. The operation has a service area that extends north and south of the city limits. Florida Water Services is the water utility company that also serves the areas of Postmaster's Village and Keystone Club Estates. The city has considered purchasing all these operations.

The question posed to city voters is would they would favor the city making such a purchase if service and water quality improved, even though there may be a possibility of an increase in rates. Those served by Florida Water Services living outside the city limits and those served by Postmaster's Village and Keystone Club Estates systems will not be allowed to vote on the issue. Only registered city voters will cast votes.

City Attorney Sam Mutch said the referendum would not be binding, but was an opportunity for the council to "receive the pulse of the community."

For the last three years the city has been exploring the idea of purchasing the water company for the city, and also buying the one for Postmaster's Village and others served by Florida Water Services, Mutch said.

At a meeting last week, Councilman Bill Beam said he favored the voters having a say on the issue and said this was a matter that has been going on far too long already. The city has had an engineering study conducted on the feasibility of purchasing the system and attorneys have been assigned the task of reviewing the possibility of the city either entering into negotiations with Florida Water Services for purchase of the system or condemning the system. …

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