St. Joseph Investigating Purchase of Water Co.
Culvert & Phillip have been retained by the Public Ownership League, of St. Joseph, Mo., as its attorneys to make a thorough investigation of the legal status of the water works situation, and upon the report of the attorneys will depend the future course of the league relative to the question of the city’s taking over the plant when the contract with the water company expires in December. Judge Culver was city counselor at the time the existing contract with the water company was drawn. Officers of the league—which now number about 800 members—say that they propose to co-operate in every way with the city government. Central Labor Council, which body fought a proposed increase in water rates of 25 per cent, several months ago, has a lot of data, obtained from the state public service commission, which was turned over to the Public Ownership League recently. It is probably that the city will order a valuation of the plant. Among the data secured by the league from the Central Labor Council is the valuation of the water plant as returned to the state public service by the company. These figures show conditions December 1, 1918. The total value of the plant is placed at $3,631,967. City officials are of the opinion that the figures arc based on “war prices” and that the plant is worth not more than half the amount claimed. The net profits of the water company, as returned for 1918—with November and December estimated—were $166,962.15. The gross revenue for the year is given as $354,683.95. and operating expenses $187,721.80. The operating expenses are $49,000 more than for 1917, and $75,000 more than for 1916. The net profits for 191o are given as $204,094.88, and for 1917 $191,06324.