Deal Negotiated for Transfer of Ojai Water System
Golden State Water Company and Casitas Municipal Water District have negotiated a $34.4 million deal for Casitas to acquire the Ojai water system. Casitas’ Board of Directors is to consider the purchase agreement at their next Board meeting on April 12, 2017. The agreement is premised upon the Casitas’ Board approval and securing bond funding. The anticipated transfer of the water system could occur as early as June 15, 2017.
This agreement brings an amicable close to litigation between Casitas and Golden State Water that was anticipated to last several years. “Golden State and Casitas are engaged in a cooperative transition to assure continued and uninterrupted water service to Ojai water system customers,” said Steve Wickstrum, General Manager of Casitas.
A feasibility study completed in 2011, by Richard Hajas and Ojai Flow, concluded Ojai customers would financially benefit from the sale of the water system to Casitas. Casitas began the process of assessing the acquisition of the Ojai water system in a way that would not financially impact existing Casitas’ customers. The purchase of the water system would need to be paid for by Ojai customers. On August 27, 2013, 87% of voters in Golden State’s Ojai service area voted to support Casitas’ purchase of the Ojai water system, and to form the Ojai Community Facilities District to assess properties to pay for bond funding to purchase the system.
“Casitas’ work has just begun. We are beginning the transition of the Ojai water system to our management and operations. The integration of the Ojai system will begin with planning and identification of system improvements that will be paid for by bond proceeds. We look forward to providing excellent water service to the Ojai community,” said Wickstrum.
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