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02

Oviedo Says “No” To Bailout Of Aqua Utilities Customers
Posted to WFTV News, Channel 9 at 4:19 pm, September 26, 2008

OVIEDO, Fla.The city of Oviedo will not take over the water pipelines operated by troubled Aqua Utilities, because the company pushed the price too high. That leaves hundreds of Seminole County residents at the mercy of the company they’ve fought against for months.

It’s been three months since Aqua Utilities tested the water at the Chuluota preschool owned by Michelle Humphrey and Humphrey still does not know the results of that test.”They showed up a week later with bottled water, no results, just bottled water,” she said.More disturbing to her than not knowing exactly what’s in the water, is that the utility company is now forking over hundreds of dollars a month to supply the school’s children with safe water.”We use it for cooking, everything, but washing hands and dishes,” she said.Outrageous water bills and monthly letters notifying customers their water is not safe have been ongoing issues for Aqua Utility customers and it’s what motivated them to go to the city of Oviedo for a possible buy-out. But Friday, Channel 9 learned the city and the utility company could not agree on a selling price. The utility company wanted $6-million more than Oviedo was willing to pay. City leaders said they didn’t want customers to face the high fees necessary to make the $10-million price tag work. The city is still considering running its own pipe to supply water to Walker Elementary, a school used by Oviedo taxpayers.But as for homeowners, the options are dwindling.Osprey Lakes residents are now looking at going into a partnership with the Florida Governmental Utility Authority where the Authority would make a deal with Aqua Utilities and take over water service. That option is still in the beginning stages.

Link to story at WFTV News.

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