To the Editor:
With the vote on the sale of the Patton Brook well approaching, I would like to take a moment to help explain our thought process behind bringing this forward again.
In 2014 a lease for the Patton Brook well, which is located in Southington, ended between our city and the town. The lease was for $106,924 per year. The city’s water fund is no longer making a profit off of this lease. Town officials were not interested in renewing the lease but were more interested in purchasing the well. The City Council at that time voted 8-7 against the sale amidst many rumors that were simply not true.
Two years later, Southington is once again seeking to purchase the well, which produces about 1 million gallons of water per day. Just to put that into perspective, the city of New Britain uses at least 17 million gallons per day to provide for our residents. Transferring the ownership of this well to the town of Southington would have no impact on our ability to provide fresh, clean water to our residents now or in the future.
As a matter of fact, the well hasn’t even been turned on since 2014. There is a reason for that: the Patton Brook well isn’t tied into our water system. Yes, that is correct — the well as it stands right now couldn’t be linked to send water to your sink or bathtub unless the city spent a hefty amount of money to rebuild the pipes.
On June 7, the New Britain Board of Water Commissioners voted to approve the sale of the well once again for $1 million and to send a favorable recommendation to the Common Council.
The town of Southington is the only possible purchaser of this well, and it is just not logical for New Britain to bring the well back into operation for our city. We have many water company assets elsewhere that would be better suited for an investment in the long term needs of our community. We fully plan on utilizing the money we would profit from the sale of this well to enhance the quality of the wellfields the New Britain Water Company owns in the town of Bristol — which have the ability to produce five times the amount of water the Patton Brook well does and would serve our community much more effectively.
While I am not in favor of selling city assets, we have a unique opportunity to sell this well to the only buyer possible and who will be forced to search for alternatives for their town if this measure does not gain approval from us.
There have been many rumors and misconceptions about the facts on this proposed sale and I hope this letter provides you with an insight into the truth. We are extremely lucky to have the New Britain Water Company and much of the property that we own as well. Let us continue to work to enhance what we have to ensure the best for our future.
Mayor Erin E. Stewart
This letter originally appeared in the New Britain Herald on July 16, 2016.