After months of negotiating with private companies interested in operating the city's water system, officials have narrowed their choices to one: California-American Water Co. of Chula Vista.
Tonight, at a special meeting, the City Council will decide whether to continue exclusive negotiations with the company or to abandon the controversial privatization plan altogether.
California-American has offered the highest bid to lease and operate the water system, City Manager Bill Smith said. The company has agreed to give the city $151 million in cash payments over 40 years and make $6.5 million worth of improvements to the aging system.
"It's a remarkable deal," Smith said.
He added that the council vote tonight will not involve an actual lease contract. But if the council agrees to continue the negotiations, Smith said, he hopes to return with a final deal Oct. 22.