EPCOR isn’t for sale — now or in the future

in Mohave Daily News/News

Published in the Mohave Valley Daily News
May 12, 2019

For the past seven years, EPCOR has been proud to provide safe, clean and reliable water service to our customers in the Bullhead City community.

We’ve invested millions into modern infrastructure – the network of pipes, wells and plants that keep safe water flowing to homes and businesses. We’ve built strong relationships with our customers and donated more than a hundred thousand dollars to charities, as well as volunteered many hours to community causes.

We’ve made a long-term commitment to this community. For these and many other reasons, I want to be crystal clear about one thing: EPCOR is not for sale now and will not be for sale in the future.

Despite the fact that we continue to echo that we’re not for sale – and without a plan or the even the financial resources to make it happen – the Bullhead City Mayor, City Council and City Manager are once again embarking on a poorly-conceived attempt to forcibly take over a private company. This is big government run amuck and is troubling on many fronts.

First and foremost, this is an attack on the hard-working employees who are your neighbors, friends and family. The entire water system in Bullhead City is managed by local employees who live, work, volunteer, raise families and make lasting friendships in the community.

What kind of message does this send to other private businesses in the city when the mayor proclaims: “This will be a hostile takeover” or when the city manager says: “we have a right to condemn those assets”?

The latest attempt to go down the wrong road includes spending $400,000 of taxpayer dollars, without public discussion, for a consultant to compile a report on how to best sell their idea to the public.

This is not a wise use of public money. Is this the best way to approach such a costly attempt to get into the business of supplying water to the community? Of course not. But that’s not the only question you should be asking your elected officials.

Bullhead City has critical community needs where this money could be better spent. For example: filling potholes and strengthening public safety.

Anyone who has driven through Bullhead City streets knows the community has a serious problem with potholes and aging roads. An extra $400,000 dedicated to upgrading and repaving roads would be a much better use of taxpayer dollars.

Public safety is another area where Bullhead City should invest its valuable resources. In fact, five fewer police officers were budgeted between 2017 and 2018 even as crime rates have ticked up. Allocating more taxpayer dollars for officers or better equipment could mean a safer community for you and your family.

Instead, Bullhead City leaders are spending $400,000 of taxpayer money to have a consultant write up a report about the possibility of buying a business that’s not for sale. They have chosen, without your input, feedback or approval, to spend your money on a hasty and hostile takeover of a private company. That same consultant didn’t bother to show up last week for EPCOR site inspections scheduled by the city.

Money that isn’t being spent on roads and public safety.

Our company believes in this city’s future, and we will continue to invest here, provide high-quality jobs for our employees and the community, and help grow the local economy. In addition to the $5 million in tax revenues we’ve contributed to the city’s coffers since 2012, EPCOR is investing more than $58 million in upgrades to the water infrastructure that will increase efficiency and ensure a safe and reliable water flow for families and businesses.

If Bullhead City’s government takes over EPCOR’s water system, they would still need to make those upgrades and expand government to keep the water system safe and running for future generations.

Our dedicated employees deserve better, and our customers deserve more transparency, better accountability, and elected officials who will invest taxpayer dollars into community needs instead of a risky, unproven power grab to try and buy a private company that isn’t for sale.

Joe Gysel is President of EPCOR USA