“Like A Miracle”: City gives final approval for Punkin transfer

Published 9:49 am Friday, April 22, 2022

Punkin Water customers are getting closer and closer to having quality water in their homes after years of living with contaminated water.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen gave their final approval for the transfer of Punkin Water Association this week, officially completing the deal between the city and PWA.

Prior to the board’s motion, city engineers have been working on engineering analyses, cost estimates and determining a rate structure for Punkin customers.

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Chief Operations Officer Bart Robinson requested a 30-day extension to complete the agreed-upon terms. The 60-day due diligence period afforded to Oxford was not enough time, the COO told the board.

“Working with Punkin, we’ve come to an agreement for a 30-day extension … allowing us to move forward to try and determine a rate we can get the Public Service Commission to approve,” Robinson said.

The overall cost of the transfer process sits at just over $2.9 million dollars with the majority of that cost attributed to the construction of pipelines and payments to resolve Punkin’s outstanding debt.

Once the rate is determined, it has to be approved by the Public Service Commission. The rate applied to customers once the transfer is completed will be lower than what they currently pay to Punkin. North District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley has reportedly both parties that the rate structure issue can be resolved.

PWA Board President Glynn Ingram is optimistic about the results of the transfer. To him, once PWA brought Oxford on board, the process has gone smoothly.

“It’s one of those deals where everything has gone right and it has to do that for these deals to work,” said Ingram. “We thank the good Lord above for his help because it’s almost like a miracle.”

It is a win-win situation for everyone involved, Ingram said.

“The city wins because it helps them in their future planning and the residents really win because we’re getting rid of that really dirty iron and manganese water,” he said. “We’re extremely excited about this deal.”

Ingram estimates that Punkin members will be officially connected to the city of Oxford by late November or early December of this year.