IN OMNIBUS SETTLEMENT DEAL WITH CPA
Commonwealth Ports Authority board chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds said yesterday that the omnibus settlement agreement between CPA and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has yet to be finalized because CUC has a concern that CPA believes to be outside the scope of what they had originally talked about.
CPA and CUC drafted the omnibus settlement agreement to resolve the many disputes they have had for many years relating to utilities and water charges, as well as easement and access/right to use.
Last June 18, the CPA board approved with some conditions the draft CUC-CPA omnibus agreement.
At this point, CPA is still waiting for CUC to address the concern, according to King-Hinds yesterday. She did not specify what CUC’s concern is.
“CPA is hopeful that a complete resolution will be reached as soon as possible as the additional delays has had an impact on our audits,” she said.
The CUC board discussed the omnibus settlement deal during an executive session last week.
King-Hinds said CPA, over the course of the negotiations, has come to the table in good faith and willingness to cooperate and compromise to reach an agreement that is in the public’s best interest.
“CPA believes that what it has offered and put on the table is fair and reasonable,” she said.
King-Hinds pointed out that when CUC asked for immediate payment of certain disputed amounts, CPA delivered on it because it was the right thing to do. She said CPA believes that such payment was in the best interest of the community, which relies on CUC to provide reliable utility services at a fair and just rate.
Last June, CUC executive director Gary P. Camacho disclosed that CUC’s senior management is still reviewing and working with CPA representatives to finalize the omnibus settlement deal. He said the agreement is something that they want to resolve quickly.
He said there are scenarios that they need to finalize and also some conditions that CPA put together that they are expecting from CUC.
The terms of the agreement would basically give CUC permanent easement for use and access to 67 water wells on CPA premises; the existing CUC waterline transporting the water from the well to the CUC island system; CPA’s 20-million gallon water tank; and the CUC sand filtration system on CPA premises.
Under the terms of the agreement, CUC will; be responsible for maintaining the water wells easement. This will provide CPA with continuous water supply from the water resources on its premises free of charge.
CPA will, however, pay for sewerline charges at an established flat rate.
King-Hinds earlier stated that this omnibus settlement deal will resolve the specific charges that have been an ongoing dispute between CUC and CPA.
This agreement would basically provide an offset of charges, said King-Hinds, noting that CPA will pay CUC the sum of $7.2 million as a settlement amount for the disputed water charges and penalty.