The Truckee Meadows Water Authority board on Wednesday was updated on negotiations to purchase West Reno Water Company, which will mean system upgrades to provide service to the Verdi area in the next few months.
Under the agreement, TMWA will pay West Reno Water $950,000. Water system assets are $700,000, legal and engineering cost is $150,000, and pipe casting and easement across the Truckee River is about $100,000. An agreement is scheduled to come back to the board in January.
Assets include all groundwater rights at Boomtown, its RV park, the convenience store, Cabela’s sporting goods store, and Dermody Properties. The Meridian 120 North, owned by Reno Land Inc., and proposed developments on the south side of Interstate 80 would be served as well.
Facility improvements will cost TMWA between $14 million and $16 million. A special assessment district is expected to be formed by Washoe County and the City of Reno to fund necessary improvements, said John Enloe, TMWA director of natural resources, planning and management. The district would collect connection fees and surcharges.
Enloe said TMWA reached out to West Reno Water over concern that the private utility provided ground water only. In turn, he said West Reno Water was willing to sell.
“There was concern over long term sustainability of the groundwater resource,” Enloe said. “TMWA will buy the system and that will allow us to provide river water out there to support the groundwater.”
Board members acknowledged the complexities of a special assessment district, such as how it’ll work for those who get into the district earlier than others, and questioned what might happen if the subdivisions don’t come to fruition or if they end up smaller than planned.
“What if the development fails and we only have a small amount of customers? Maybe we should make Reno Land bond,” County Commissioner Vaughn Hartung said. “My biggest concern is putting the average rate payer on the hook.”
Reno Councilwoman Jenny Brekhus said expansion west is long overdue.
“I’m super excited about this,” Brekhus said. “We should’ve been ahead of this.”
Several land owners in the Verdi area attended October’s board meeting and said they favored getting service from TMWA.
Verdi residents have been vocal about not wanting to deal with Reno in the past, Reno Councilwoman Neoma Jardon said.
“Now that growth is going on, things are changing,” Jardon said.