During their June 3 public meeting, Delaware County Council voted 4-0 to terminate the Delaware County Regional Water Authority (DELCORA), and to have the county assume responsibility for DELCORA’s operations. Councilwoman Elaine Schaefer recused herself from all deliberations and decisions on this matter due to a potential conflict of interest.
The termination ordinance can be found here: https://delcopa.gov/pdf/CountyOrdinanceAuthorizingTheTerminationOfDELCORA_A7503657_2.pdf
Last month, County Council also took action to block the illegal trust created by the former Republican Majority in the final days of their terms. This matter is still pending. The full release and complaint are here: https://www.delcopa.gov/publicrelations/releases/2020/delcoraterminated.html
In the past month, County Council has taken swift and decisive action to:
Block the formation of the illegal trust created by the former Republican Majority
Terminate DELCORA to protect the public from the authority’s illegal activities, and to have the county assume responsibility for DELCORA’s operations
Ensure DELCORA is not taking steps that prevent the County’s elected officials from managing the county's assets and taxpayer money
Prevent DELCORA from taking any further action inconsistent with termination
Delaware County Council members have publicly stated their concerns about the lack of transparency and the lack of information released by DELCORA. Council has also voiced concerns about the deal that the politically-appointed DELCORA board made with Aqua and that if the sale of DELCORA to Aqua goes through, there will likely be massive future rate increases to the residents of Delaware County.
Brian Zidek, County Council Chair: “DELCORA sold the people of Delaware County a bill of goods, and we vowed to reverse that deal. Today, we did that by terminating DELCORA and rightfully returning a county-owned asset to the taxpayers. At the top of DELCORA’s deceit is what would have awaited ratepayers if this deal went through: Aqua, like any private company, would have recouped their costs and rewarded shareholders on the backs of Delaware County residents. We won’t let that happen. We have from the start, and will continue to, ensure this process is open and transparent and serves the interests of the people who elected us.”
Dr. Monica Taylor, Vice Chair: “Today, we carried through on our promise to the people of Delaware County - to reverse a backroom, purely political deal. County taxpayers were fleeced by this deal that was designed to protect a few politically-connected people at their expense. If we hadn’t acted, Delaware County residents would have endured large future rate hikes so a private company could recover its costs and make shareholders whole. I look forward to this process moving forward and it will continue to involve the public and ensure the people of this county are the priority.”
Councilmember Kevin Madden: “This deal was never ok. We are committed to working for taxpayers, not campaign contributors and political appointees. Political appointees and private companies cannot be allowed to circumvent entire government processes because only one group of people will lose out: Delaware County residents when their rates skyrocket. This County Council has been committed to making sure we have a transparent process that is carried out on behalf of the people of this county.”
Councilmember Christine A. Reuther: “Today, we not only followed through on reversing this bad, shady deal DELCORA made with Aqua, but we reaffirmed that one things is clear: political appointees and campaign contributors are not in charge of Delaware County. The people are, and now we are returning an asset back to the taxpayers. I will never stand by while a private company is handed an asset that belongs to the people of this county, and I certainly won’t allow that private company to jack up rates on hardworking families. As it has been from the start, the process moving forward will be open, ethical, and fully transparent.”
Background on this matter:
In 2019, the Board of DELCORA, appointed by the former Republican majority on the Delaware County Council entered into an agreement - using a no-bid process and allowing no meaningful public input - with Aqua Pennsylvania to sell DELCORA and privatize its operations. Additionally, in the final days of their terms, the former Republican majority illegally created a trust to distribute assets from the sale directly back to Aqua Pennsylvania, and not to ratepayers.
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