Water company leaders take questions from residents about working together

NORTH OF THE RIVER -  

Leaders from two water companies in Kern County plan to join forces.  Community leaders are putting the finishing touches on a proposal to combine Oildale Mutual Water Company and the North of the River Municipal Water District.

The bottom line, if those two companies integrate services, it’s the customer who will begin to notice a big change, almost immediately.

Melissa Baca runs an apartment complex and is always looking to help her tenants save money.

“We, all would like to push this board to move forward, getting these two Oildale Water community and the North of the River together, it cut costs, it cuts expenses, it just needs to happen,” said Baca.

In a recent meeting the NOR water board agreed to consider a plan that would ultimately change people’s water statements.

“Everybody is mindful of bills, who doesn’t want to save money today?” she said. 

The two water companies have talked for more than a year on the possibility of working together.

“We’ve working in the kinks out of it and had all the legal people look at it. It is legal; it’s the right thing to do. It’s the savings of a lot of money, in five years, i think the figure if over three million dollars,” said business owner, Don Wattenberger.

Wattenberger has lived in the area since 1936 and says the merger would improve service to Oildale’s 84,000 stock holders and NOR’s 22,000 customers.

“There’s a lot of redundancy in the community with the water companies, you know you got people at nor and people at Oildale Mutual. There will be some cuts on some staff of course, that’s part of your cost cutting scenario, but their rates won’t go up for sure, but with this consolidation the cuts will be immediately,” he said.

 The merger would make NOR customers into Oildale Mutual Water Company stockholders.  Consolidation of the two companies could take anywhere between two and five months. 

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Carlos is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carloscorrea23abc

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