UPDATE 4:15PM: MAWSS has finished an afternoon news conference reacting to a judges decision Tuesday to officially dissolve the Water Works and Sewer Board of Prichard.
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) - The Prichard Water Board will be dissolved and its assets transferred to the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System, a court ruling by Judge Michael Youngpeter released Tuesday morning said.
Prichard residents have complained for months about excessively high water bills. In November, voters across the state approved the plan for MAWSS absorb Prichard customers. The Prichard board fought the approval, calling it unconstitutional. Youngpeter's ruling shot down the appeal, allowing MAWSS to accept 10,000 additional customers from Prichard, bringing it's overall customer base to 98,000 in the Mobile area.
Prichard's Water Board has vowed to take the case all the way to the State Supreme Court.
Supporters of the merger said Tuesday an appeal to the Supreme Court would waste additional taxpayer money. "With this order, I would think they no longer have the authority to say anything," State Sen. Vivian Figures (D-Mobile) said by phone, "They're known for spending a lot of money in legal fees and it only gets passed to the customers to pay which is totally unfair because the bills themselves are just astronomical."
"I hope they would not waste any more money," MAWSS attorney Jim Atchison said during the news conference outside MAWSS headquarters.
The next stop for MAWSS, according to Board Vice Chair Kimberly Williams-Pettway, was to conduct an assessment of the Prichard system to find out what is compatible and what additions or changes need to be made.