Saturday, February 4, 2023

Oxford Leaders OK Agreement to Transfer Punkin to City; First of Several Steps Needed

By Alyssa Schnugg News editor alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com The Oxford Board of Aldermen approved an agreement to take over the Punkin Water Association; however, it is just one of several steps needed before that can actually happen. The Aldermen considered two items Tuesday – an agreement for the transfer of service and dissolution of PWA and a resolution in support of local and private legislation authorizing the city of Oxford to expand its water system within a certain distance outside the corporate limits. Both were approved pending review by the city attorney. Oxford intends to construct a water line to tie into the PWA System for the purpose of supplying water to PWA and make the necessary changes to the PWA System to better serve the members of PWA. The agreement will now go before the PWA Board of Directors for its consideration. If approved, the city will then determine whether it has the ability and capacity to serve the members of PWA. Since a portion of the area is outside of 5 miles from the Oxford city limits, local and private legislation is required by the State Legislature that authorizes Oxford to construct, maintain and operate a water system beyond 5 miles from the Oxford city limits. If the local and private legislation is granted, the Mississippi Department of Health must approve the construction work and the overall extension of the Oxford water system to serve the members of PWA. Upon approval, Oxford will begin the work to enable the delivery of Oxford water to the members of PWA. According to the agreement, it is anticipated that the construction work will be complete within six months after the approval by the state agencies. Residents receiving water from PWA have been issuing complaints to the PSC for several years over the quality of the water and poor management of the water association. Customers often complain about discoloration of their water and having to replace water filters almost weekly. Oxford Chief Operating Officer Bart Robinson said the main issue for Punkin is a lack of capacity to serve its 1,150 customers. Mayor Robyn Tannehill said Oxford taxpayers won’t pay for the new connection if it is approved. “It will be paid for by the customers who would be hooking up to it,” she said. While Tannehill doesn’t vote, she said she hopes the transfer of service can be made to give the current customers some relief. “We also believe that is the direction of where Oxford is growing and we will probably annex that area the next time we do an annexation,” she said.
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