Last updated: August 05. 2014 5:10PM - 269 Views
By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

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WINNSBORO — Winnsboro Town Council emerged from an executive session during a called meeting on July 24 to announce a motion to pursue arbitration with the Town of Blythewood in regards to the water franchise agreement.

The motion passed unanimously, as did a second motion to engage Robert Bachman as the arbitrator on behalf of the Town of Winnsboro.

Winnsboro Mayor Roger Gaddy said this is the first time Bachman has been contracted by the Town of Winnsboro.

Several months ago, the Town of Winnsboro received word that Blythewood’s Town Council voted to prematurely cancel the franchise agreement.

Once an arbitrator is appointed by the Town of Blythewood, the two arbitrators will appoint a third arbitrator to begin the arbitration process.

If the Town of Blythewood chooses not to arbitrate, then the contact would continue until the termination date of 2020.

In section 5 of the franchise agreement, the contract states that Winnsboro shall collect a 3 percent fee on all monthly water service fees and tap-on fees. The Town of Winnsboro shall add the franchise fee to its water bill for each Town customer. Payments of the franchise fee shall be made to the Town of Blythewood not more frequently than once each calendar quarter.

Last year, the Town of Blythewood received a total of $13,000 in franchises fee collected by Winnsboro.

Section 7 says that the water franchise agreement shall be in force for 20 years and shall continue by 10-year terms thereafter unless terminated properly by either party.

The agreement continues to state that in the event of such early termination, the Town of Blythewood shall purchase that part of the water system installed by the Town of Winnsboro which lies within Richland County, as it exists then, to the Fairfield County line at fair market value.

Fair market value is determined by arbitration unless the two parties agree to the value for the water system.

By contract, each party must select an arbitrator within 30 days after either party has requested arbitration.

Gaddy signed the franchise agreement on June 6, 2000 and the Blythewood Mayor signed the contract on July 31, 2000.

Winnsboro Town Council passed the final reading of Ordinance 10.1056-A (establishing the franchise agreement) on July 31, 2000.

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