When smaller businesses need to buy C-BT water shares, they are not always knowledgeable about buying it on the open market, said City Water Resources Director Gary Dreessen.
Under those circumstances, it would be business-friendly to help them out by selling them shares of the water that the city owns, said Acting City Manager Jeff Wells.
Council members seemed to reach a consensus that the city would sell water shares at a price based on the average cost over the past three years.
However, Councilman Scott Bryan wondered if the city should charge the going price, instead of the average of three years.
Giving local businesses a break is part of being business-friendly, said Councilman Brent Nation.
Councilman James Powers urged city officials to keep an eye on how businesses are buying water shares, so they would not be able to speculate on them to make a profit.
Any company which would want to buy a large amount of water, say 40 or 50 shares, would be helped by the city acting as a kind of broker, but the city would not sell that many shares directly, Wells said.
Powers also insisted that any money the city receives from water share sales go into a fund for purchasing more water, not just into the general water department revenue. In the past, that happened and the money seemed to get lost. Different organizations handle water sales differently, but the Morgan County Quality Water District does use the proceeds to buy more water and that seems to work, Nation said.
Businesses which bought water from the city directly would pay a $500 transaction fee for the work the city put into the sale — over and above the cost of the water, Dreessen said. Given the water market, this policy would likely change in the future, but it should work for now, Nation said.
The price for a business buying a city share of water would be $7,433 this year, which would be an average of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 prices.
This was a work session, which meant the council could not vote on the policy, but it will go on the agenda for the next meeting in two weeks.