October 31, 2014

Standish water sales to Pinconning stalled

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PINCONNING TWP. — The Pinconning Township board agreed to hold off locking into a 40-year water contract with the Saginaw-Midland Water Authority on Jan. 30, and will continue to pursue other potential options.

Township Supervisor Sharon Stalsberg said her board did not sign the agreement that practically all other townships in Bay County have because they want to get the best deal possible for the township.

“We want to leave the doors open, because we feel that if the quality of water does not improve we will want to look at alternatives,” she said. “Signing the agreement, we would be tied (to Saginaw-Midland) for 40 years.”

Stalsberg said ideally they would align the township with Standish’s water system, but for that to go through, one of two things must happen: Saginaw-Midland must either let Pinconning Township go to Standish for water, or it must let Standish amend its contract so it can both increase its own water supply from the authority, and allow the city to sell it south of the county line.

Standish City Manager Curt Hillman said the city has received a letter from Saginaw-Midland that denied their request to increase their water volume. While he is not strictly opposed to selling water to other municipalities, Hillman said the city needs to make sure it has enough capacity to handle any future expansion and needs within its existing water system before selling elsewhere.

“When Saginaw-Midland turned us down, we kind of have to stay where we are,” Hillman said.

Standish is not the only option the township board is looking at, Stalsberg said, and Bay County is obligated to continue providing water to the township until the issue is resolved.

The city of Pinconning has already signed on to the 40-year contract, which would give it a stake in a new water plant being constructed near Bay City. Bay County is interested in a closer working relationship with Saginaw and Midland counties on water, and is under pressure to get all of its communities on-board or signed with another water provider beforehand.

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