By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
BOONEVILLE – Ongoing water quality and cost problems led more than a dozen members of the Big V Water Association to open talks with Booneville city officials about the possibility of a merger of the association with the city water system.
In a Booneville mayor and board of aldermen work session Thursday night, Mayor Joe Eaton and Aldermen David Bolen, Harold Eaton and Jeff Williams listened to water association member concerns.
The association has indebetedness of more than $600,000 to the U.S. Rural Development Agency and proposes about $2.4 million more for system improvements, said Rural Development spokesman Kevin Sweeney.
If the water association merged with the city, the city would assume all of the water system’s assets as well as its liabilities.
Such a merger would require approval by the Big V five-member board, the city board and association membership.
Members of the water association began taking their concerns to the Public Service Commission more than a year ago, including rates that continue to rise while customers receive poor-quality water.
Booneville has been the backup, providing water to Big V customers when their own system’s water is too contaminated.
Customers say if Booneville can provide them with consistently good water weeks at a time when their own system is not working, they should have the city be the permanent water source.