Second group opposing sale of Mt. Vernon water, sewer system

JEFFERSON COUNTY — Another Jefferson County group is speaking out in opposition to a Mt. Vernon City Council proposal that would sell the city’s water and sewer system to a private company.

(Credit: Franck olivier Grondin)
(Credit: Franck olivier Grondin)

The Directors of Concerned Citizens of Jefferson County, Ltd., are urging Mayor Mary Jane Chesley and the City Council to postpone a vote on sale of the Mt. Vernon City Water Utilities. The meeting is currently scheduled for March 2, 2015, at the Rolland Lewis Building.

The CCJC is saying a six month delay would give city officials time to explain the evaluations and provide justification for the sale to the people they were elected to represent.

The organization says the sale of the utility is not the only option for addressing problems associated with maintaining and operating the system.

Another group, The Team of Mayors, has proposed creating a Jefferson County Utility Cooperative that would own, manage and operate the system, and keep the profits in the community. The Team of Mayors was created specifically in response and opposition to the proposed sale of the system.

According to CCJC website, the group believes the Mt. Vernon mayor and city council owe it to all the citizens of Jefferson County to allow full and open discussion of the issues at a series of town hall meetings throughout the county before making a final decision on a matter of this importance.

The Team of Mayors has claimed the council held secret meetings for six months before going public with their plan to sell the system to Illinois American Water.

Meetings in which a quorum of council members are present, but for which the public is not notified would be a violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act and can be subject to an injunction by the county court, or even fines. Any final actions taken during wrongfully held sessions can ultimately be voided.