City owes millions owes millions on shut down water plant

SAN BENITO — The city owes part of a $6.5 million debt on a $17 million water plant shut down about three years ago.

And residents continue to pay high water rates to help pay off the debt on the water plant opened in 2009.

In 2014, the city filed a lawsuit against companies behind the water plant’s contruction, arguing it never efficiently operated

Meanwhile, the city has launched a $3 million project aimed at renovating its 90-year-old water plant, which twice shut down in seven months, cutting water to customers across town.

City commissioners have stood by their decision to shut down the new water plant while pumping money into the old part.

But they have declined comment, citing the lawsuit.

“The city of San Benito is going to do whatever it must to guarantee a secure source of drinking water for its population and they refuse to be held hostage by the same vendors who designed the new plant around a defective product — vendors who have proven unable or unwilling to provide the support they promised,” City Attorney Ricardo Morado has said in a statement.

“Once the pending lawsuit is resolved, the city hopes to be in a position to properly restore (the new water plant),” Morado said.

fdelvalle@valleystar.com