Months after residents in two Natchitoches Parish towns went without water for weeks before last Christmas, a decision has been reached to finally solve their water woes.
Last week, the Robeline-Marthaville Water System board and its members voted to hook their system, which serves 481 customers, into the Sabine Parish Water District 1.
According to the minutes of the water board's annual shareholders meeting, 127 board members and customers there voted in favor of hooking into Sabine. Five voted against it.
Under the merger, water board leaders report, Robeline and Marthaville residents will not experience any difference in their water rates.
"No change in our water rates: $34 for the first 2,000 and $4.50 for every 1,000 thereafter," Robeline-Marthaville Water Board President Don Perez said. "Which was a better option for us because it didn't cost us anything and they would assume all our risks and all our liabilities."
Perez said their water board's attorney is already working with Sabine Parish Water District 1 to draft a formal merger, which he claims will come at no cost to Robeline-Marthaville.
Meantime, Perez said, they're conducting an internal audit of their system.
"We're operating in the black, not very much black, but in the black. But we still don't have enough money to be able to really maintain the system."
According to Perez, the merger will take several months and involves Sabine constructing a pipeline west of Robeline.
Once the merger is complete, both water treatment plants in Robeline and Marthaville will be shut down and Sabine will repair their customers' water meters.
Perez said he believes this will mean a final sigh of relief for the people of Robeline and Marthaville.
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