The Town of Florence has started the evaluation process for the purchase of the assets of Johnson Utilities, which is the water and wastewater provider in parts of Florence and the surrounding San Tan Valley areas. This is the Town’s second effort to purchase the assets of the utility company. The Town of Florence originally considered purchasing Johnson Utilities in 2007.
The Town began evaluating a possible purchase late this summer in the process of evaluating the growth in the Anthem area, so that the citizens of Florence could have one water provider in the Town. Johnson Utilities’ water and sewer plants are an integrated system that work together and are unable to be purchased in part.
Analysis started last month when the Town hired several consultants to help conduct a detailed inspection including an engineering assessment and financial analysis. The purchase price is lower than Queen Creek’s purchase of H2O water company earlier this year, based on a per connection cost. The purchase includes all water and wastewater infrastructure, facilities, and equipment owned by Johnson Utilities and Southwest Environmental Utilities. The possible purchase of the utility company is a big step for the Town, as the acquisition will extend the Town’s water and wastewater service area to all areas within its municipal boundaries and parts of Pinal County, but the complete utility is in the Town of Florence planning area. Currently, Johnson Utilities serves over 53,000 connections.
There are no immediate plans to change the rates charged to existing Johnson Utilities customers if the Town purchased the utility company. The Town would not consider the purchase of the utility system if it meant that rates would be increased for the existing Johnson Utilities’ customers in the next 18 months. If purchased, the Town would complete a full rate study to make a determination on future rates.
The Town will be concluding the information collection and analysis of the possible purchase of the utility company in the upcoming weeks. More detailed information will be released to the public at that time.
For questions, contact Jess Knudson, Town of Florence PIO, at 520-868-7541.