If Jacksonville and the Little Rock Air Force Base can work out an agreement for the city to manage its water treatment needs, what would such a contract look like?
According to a study given to commissioners by Garver Engineering; Tetra Tech; and Wright, Lindsey and Jennings LLP., the agreement would most likely include provisions for monthly payments to the city of Jacksonville.
“A monthly fee (would be paid) to continually replace assets in the system as they wear out over the 50-year contract period,” states the study.
These types of costs would be finished by debt issued by the Jacksonville Water Utility secured by the monthly charge paid to the city, according to the report.
The contract also would allow for the fee it would charge as the water system assets change over the contract period.
One project which needs to be undertaken before Jacksonville would take over the system would be setting up a system for dealing with infrastructure deficiencies.
The LRAFB system would need to be brought up to Jacksonville’s standards. Correcting deficiencies in the system would be done during the first five years of the contract, according to the study.
It also “will be finished by debt issued by JWW secured by the monthly payment from the government,” the study adds.
Deficiencies and corrections which would need to be implemented include:
1. Distribution system looping;
2. Pump station bypass and improvements;
3. On base operations building and work area;
4. Construction of the transition line from Lonoke-White Water District;
The 50-year agreement also would need to include funds for all costs to continually operate the water system to maintain levels of service. Such a fee would have to include funds for staffing, equipment, tools, spare parts, chemicals and other consumables, according to the study.
The fees charged also would need to take into account future inflation.
The study states that Jacksonville would benefit from managing the LRAFB water services.
“Over the long term, JWW will benefit from economies of scale through combined utilization of fixed, general and overhead costs,” according to the report. “JWW will gain a closer relationship with the planning expansion efforts on the base and will be able to integrate planning for both the existing customers and LRAFB.”
The acquisition would also help Jacksonville better control the use of its water supply through leak detection and conservation efforts.
“JWW’s presence in the north service area will be strengthened,” added the report.
But such an acquisition would present certain drawbacks to Jacksonville, according to the report.
“JWW will be responsible for the continued operations and maintenance of the LRAFB water system,” it states. “JWW will be responsible for the regulatory compliance of the LRAFB system.”
Contract modifications would need to be made if future regulations are adopted. However, those costs should be covered by the LRAFB.
“JWW will be responsible for financing, planning and constructing water system improvements on the LRAFB water system,” states the report about some more drawbacks. “JWW must continually strive to effectively operate the system to remain in a financially advantageous position.”
If the water board of commissioners decides to proceed with the proposed plan, it would need to approve and initiate Phase 2 of the preparation process.
A final proposal would need to be prepared and submitted by March 29 and negotiations would need to begin with the government.