Thursday, February 25, 2021 11:53 pm

City purchase of water company spurs legislation

By Julia Shumway | Arizona Capitol Times

After the city of Surprise proposed spending $15 million to buy a water company that serves just 200 homes, a pair of Chandler lawmakers introduced legislation to require cities to obtain appraisals and honor contracts when they condemn utility companies.

A bill from Rep. Jeff Weninger, R-Chandler, to require cities to maintain all contractual obligations of the public utilities they acquire through condemnation passed the House on a bipartisan 34-24 vote last week. A measure from Sen. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, in the form of a strike-everything amendment to a bill on the Senate Commerce Committee agenda, would mandate that cities have the utilities they choose to condemn appraised.

Both acknowledged that the Surprise situation contributed to the bills, though any legislation passed this year would not apply retroactively to an ongoing condemnation proceeding.

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