YERMO • The question of who will take the Yermo Water Company over from the current owner may be answered after Wednesday.

All parties with a stake in the ownership of the Yermo Water Company will attend a mediation session at the California Public Utilities Commission, said Fred Curry, chief of the PUC's water and sewer advisory branch.

According to Curry, this includes company owner Don Walker; Bob Smith, board president for the Yermo Community Services District, Curry and Peter Fairchild, a commission attorney who will take receivership of the company if an agreement isn't reached. Walker will also bring with him two or three  firms that Walker says are interested in purchasing the water system, Curry said. According to Curry, a member of the commission's administrative law division will mediate.

Smith said he was notified by the Public Utilities Commission that Walker was in negotiations with an unnamed firm who he is interested in selling the water company to. According to Smith, when he asked the PUC what the firm's name was, the representative said he didn't write down the name and couldn't remember it.

The Yermo CSD has been trying to take over the water company since January. After Walker said he was interested in selling the company, the CSD tried to sit down and negotiate a sale with him, according to Smith. After several written and verbal requests, the CSD and Walker have yet to negotiate, Smith said.

The San Bernardino County Local Agency Formation Commission gave water jurisdiction to the CSD two months ago, Smith said. The commission held a final protest hearing for the decision Thursday, Smith said. According to him, there were no complaints.

"I hold in my hand the resolution from LAFCO giving us water powers for the Yermo area," he said.

 Curry said because Smith and Walker will be in the same room, the CSD purchasing the water company from Walker is still a viable option.

Marvin Hardy, local manager of the Yermo Water Company, said he and Walker met with representatives of the firm that may purchase the water system Monday and the firm seemed to be qualified, but he didn't know the name of the firm or of the person he talked to.

Prior to his Monday meeting, Walker said he was negotiating the sale of the water company through a Realtor and didn't know the name of the firm either. Attempts to follow-up with Walker on Tuesday about his meeting were unsuccessful, however an unidentified woman who answered his phone said nothing had been finalized yet.

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