Photo by David Castellon.
The Madera County Board of Supervisors has authorized an initial step to privatizing the water system for a subdivision in the southwest part of the county.
The board on Tuesday approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with Bakman Water Company in Fresno for the potential sale of the County Service Area 19 water system, which provides water to 335 customers in the Rolling Hills subdivision.
If successful, the agreement would be the first special district water system in Madera County to be privatizated, said Madera Supervisor Brett Frazier, whose district includes Rolling Hills. .
In May of last year, the Rolling Hills Homeowners Association unanimously voted to request that its water system no longer be operated and maintained by Madera County.
In July of that year, supervisors directed county staff to move forward with the privatization. The county solicited requests for information from businesses that could run the water system, and it received responses from California Water Service Co., California American Water and Bakman Water Company.
Residents of Rolling Hills voted earlier this year in favor of negotiating a service agreement with Bakman by a large majority.
“The exclusive negotiation agreement was requested by Bakman Water as a means to facilitate negotiations between parties from the time the agreement is signed through 120 days, or upon the closing of escrow, whichever is first,” states a county press release.
“The negotiations should produce a purchase agreement that both parties agree upon. If no agreement can be reached and a purchase agreement is not signed, then Madera County Public Works staff will come back to the board of supervisors for further direction,” the release continues.