MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - In 2012, voters will decide whether the Prichard Water Board should dissolve or not.
For years, customers have complained about high water rates.
If the vote passes, the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System will run the system for both cities.
Executive Director Malcolm Steeves said if the takeover does happen, Prichard customers will see an automatic savings.
"The Prichard system has hired a private company to do the operation and maintain their system. So whatever level of profit that company sends to their stakeholders, right off that is a savings," said Steeves.
However, there is one issue.
The water board is under contract with a private company called Severn Trent to handle operations and billing. That contract will not end until 2014.
If the vote passes, Prichard customers would still be legally obligated to pay Severn Trent.
That means those high water bills could stick around a little while longer.
"I couldn't tell you exactly how long Severn Trent would remain in the picture and how that would have an impact in where the rates go or when they might be reduced," said Steeves.
However, once the contract ends, customers would not have to pay Severn Trent anymore.
"Longterm absolutely looks better. No question about it. I think Prichard customers are concerned with the longterm," he added.
By law, customers in Mobile will also have to vote on the matter. Their rates will not be affected because the recently passed legislation prevents increased rates.
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