Invest in Housatonic Water Works, or turn it over to town

In his letter Trevor Forbes writes: “If Jim Mercer is not prepared to invest in the Housatonic Water Works at his expense, then HWW should become part of GB’s town water system.”

To the editor:

The issue regarding Housatonic Water Works is mainly because it is a private company. When we at Renaissance Investment Group invest in companies for our clients, one of the aspects we research is their reinvestment rate to ensure their essential operational assets are kept up to date. This is even more important in a water utility as people’s health is at stake.
We expect this reinvestment to be at the cost of shareholders in that company. In a competitive industry it is impossible to pass this cost onto consumers but in a monopoly the shareholders, of course, are only too happy to pass the cost onto the customers because they can’t go anywhere.
Clearly, Jim Mercer knew this was an old system when he became involved in it. As the principal shareholder, he is responsible for the investment in the system. If he is not prepared to do this at his expense, then HWW should become part of GB’s town water system at which point there will be state grants to assist in upgrading the facilities.

I am afraid I don’t have much sympathy for Mercer as he has shirked his responsibilities for years and what we see coming out of our faucets is the result. It should also not escape our notice he has been only too happy to raise the price of his substandard water to the residents of Housatonic. If the water was the same quality as that in GB we consumers might accept these price hikes, but it isn’t. Now is the time to hold Housatonic Water Works and their shareholders to account.

Trevor Forbes