Politics

Aqua Ohio Praises Market Value Legislation for Utilities

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Aqua Ohio is hailing legislation signed earlier this month by then-Gov. John Kasich as a boon for municipalities exploring the sale of water and sewer assets to regulated utilities.

On Jan. 4, Kasich signed House Bill 422, the Municipal Fair Market Value legislation, which eases the process of selling municipal utility systems and ensures they receive the proper value.

“Municipal officials in Ohio, like their peers throughout the country, recognize the growing complexity and cost associated with operating a water and wastewater utility. Regulated utilities such as Aqua provide tangible value through our economies of scale, efficiencies and expertise,” said Aqua Ohio President Ed Kolodziej in a release. “The new municipal fair market value rules provide a stronger solution for municipalities, and we are already hearing from communities asking what this legislation could mean for them.”

Previously, the value of municipal utilities was determined by depreciated original cost “which generally did not reflect a reasonable value for those assets and became a barrier to sale,” he said.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the needs of Ohio’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructures are valued at $12.2 billion and $14.5 billion, respectively, over the next two decades.

“Municipal fair market value could be a lifeline to many communities that have no means to address their crumbling infrastructure without cutting funding to essential public services such as police and fire protection,” Kolodziej said.

This year, Aqua Ohio plans to invest $41.9 million in water and wastewater systems.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.