A task force commissioned to study Louisville’s utilities is recommending a gradual merger between the Metropolitan Sewer District and the Louisville Water Company. The group issued its recommendations to Mayor Greg Fischer today.
Fischer ordered the analysis after a state audit of MSD showed egregious waste and inefficiencies. The group was tasked with studying the operations of Louisville Water, MSD and Metro Public Works and identifying ways the entities could collaborate.
The final recommendation lays out three phases of collaboration. The first two are increasing collaboration between the three agencies. The third phase—merging Louisville Water and MSD—is scheduled to be completed after five years. The report estimates cost savings could eventually be anywhere from $14 to $24 million a year.
Fischer attended the presentation and commended the group for its work.
“This is a real shining light I see here not only for us to reduce costs but also to increase operational efficiency,” he said. “And at the end as consumers, I believe that’s what we all hope for when we take a look at any investment that we make.”
He says he’ll take 60 days to study the recommendations, and ensure whatever path the city takes will be able to clear any regulatory hurdles.
“This is not something we can just snap our fingers and it happens in a matter of three months,” Fischer said. “If we move toward consolidation, which on its face looks like something we would want to do, this is going to take several years to do it. We would have a sense of urgency, obviously, to move as fast as we responsibly could.”
Any of the steps would require approval from the respective boards and the attorney general, but a merger would also require the Kentucky General Assembly to sign off.