LITTLEVILLE — Mayor Kenneth Copeland said there is a long way to go before the Town Council decides if it will end its long-running relationships with Tuscumbia Utilities and the Spring Valley Water System and start buying its water from Russellville.
On Monday, Copeland and council members met with Tuscumbia Utilities General Manager David Thornton, engineer Jeff McDonald, Spring Valley's manager Tony Jones, the system's attorney, Tina Parker, and others to discuss the issue.
Littleville recently announced it was considering ending its 40-year relationship with Tuscumbia Utilities and purchase water from Russellville at a lower rate.
The town purchases water from Tuscumbia for $2.50 per 1,000 gallons and $2.66 per 1,000 gallons from Spring Valley. Russellville sells water for $2.20 per 1,000 gallons and Copeland said the town can save money by switching providers.
Littleville buys about 200,000 gallons of water a day from Tuscumbia and another 100,000 gallons per day from the Spring Valley Water System.
"We'll get together and talk about it," Copeland said. "If y'all can give us something that will save us money, that's what we're looking for."
Copeland said the town does not have a proposal in writing from Russellville and would have to secure a $1.6 million loan to construct a new water line that would connect to Russellville's system.
Jones pointed out that even if the town opts to go with Russellville, it would still have to address a 40-55 percent water loss that could be caused by leaking lines or meters that are not properly measuring water flow.
Copeland said Littleville officials would like to reduce the amount of water purchased from Spring Valley because the town does not use 30,000 gallons of the 100,000 it receives each day. That costs the town roughly $30,000 a year.
Jones said he would discuss with his board the possibility of selling Littleville only as much water as it needs if the town would consider signing a long-term contract.
Thornton said Tuscumbia also is interested in signing a long-term contract with the town.
Thornton told Copeland Tuscumbia had attempted to contact both he and the Littleville Water Board in 2011 about the town's continued water purchases when they were planning the construction of their new water plant. Thornton said they never received a reply.
Littleville has since dissolved its water board and the water system is now the responsibility of the Town Council.
Thornton said Tuscumbia has had contracts with Littleville dating back to 1970. Copeland said, however, those contracts were with the water board and not with the town.
Russellville Utilities General Manager Doug Clement said Littleville contacted the Water Department about their water rate structure. He said the department did not solicit the town's business.
"My job as Russellville Water Department manager is to sell water," Clement said. "I'm just a bystander here waiting to hear yea or nay."
Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.