YERMO After nearly two years of negotiations, Yermo Community Services District may be finalizing the purchase of the Yermo Water Company as early as January.

The purchase will be finalized once the California Department of Public Health approves a technical managerial and financial report from Yermo CSD. Once the Department of Public Health approves the document, the California Public Utilities Commission could approve the purchase as early as January, said Bob Smith, president of the Yermo CSD board of directors.

Yermo has been plagued by issues with its water system for decades, said Smith.

"Yermo deserves good, reliable, clean water and they haven't had it for 30 years," said Smith.

Yermo CSD had previously signed a $259,000 purchase contract with water company owner Don Walker in March.

San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt has pledged $150,000 of his discretionary funds to go towards the purchase of the water company, said David Zook, chief of staff to Mitzelfelt. The CSD is negotiating a loan for the remaining $109,000, as well as extra money to purchase a new water supply tank that is currently inoperable, said Smith.

Yermo has only one working water supply tank right now and 1,000 Yermo residents could be without water if the tank fails, said Smith. He said that the water tank will cost upwards of $1,000.

Yermo CSD has negotiated a contract with High Desert Underground, who will be overseeing repairs, management of water testing, and line maintenance.

Smith said that the board anticipates no rate increases for the first year and that any extra surplus earned by the water company would have to go directly back to the water company.

The community service district's board of directors will also be in charge of the Yermo water district, said Smith.


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