Trumann Rural Water to consolidate with Trumann Water Works

Friday, March 18, 2016

After a lot of discussion during a special meeting Monday, the Trumann City Council approved an ordinance which will consolidate Trumann Rural Water with Trumann Water Works.

According to Mayor Barbara Lewallen, the city is purchasing the $3 million rural water system for around $45,000. Trumann Water Works will gain Trumann Rural Water's employees--who will keep their wages--along with all assets, equipment, vehicles, and property in exchange for paying off Trumann Rural Water's remaining debt of $45,020.36 to Arkansas Natural Resource Commission.

"We're going to lower water bills for rural customers," Lewallen said. "Everyone who comes in will become customers of Trumann Water Works, and we will treat everyone as fairly as possible."

The ordinance states that the consolidation will "allow for more efficiency and savings in providing services to developing areas of the city, particularly in light of developments around Highway I-555 and potential annexations of the city." One example Lewallen gave of this efficiency was Walmart, whose water lines are Rural Water territory. When Walmart was being built, Rural Water could not provide the pressure needed for Walmart's sprinkler system. Trumann Water Works put in the water lines but didn't receive usage payments from Walmart since that money went to Trumann Rural Water. With the merger, there will be more efficiency as the sides of the highway are developed and Trumann Water Works can provide the sizes of lines needed for businesses going in while also being paid for usage.

Another reason for the consolidation is that Trumann Rural Water manager James Pagan will retire in the coming years, and there is no one currently trained to take over for him. Lewallen said the merger means more territory for Director of Public Works Scotty Jones to cover, but said he is willing to do it because it will be better for the city.

The council passed the ordinance approving the consolidation with a vote of 8-0 with one abstaining. The council also passed a resolution to transfer $45,020.36 from a Trumann Water Sewer Account for tank maintenance to pay off Rural Water's debt.

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