Greenville City Council members voted 5-1 Tuesday night to approve a new, adjusted contract with the city’s water provider.

The initial contract had been approved by the council during a recent meeting, but Massoud Ebrahim, the City’s director of public works, told the Council that the Sabine River Authority dropped off a contract with several changes so the Council would need to re-approve the modified contract.

The SRA added two more years onto the contract and specified how much water the proposed Cobisa plant would receive, he explained. Under the new contract, the City will receive 19 million gallons of water a day.

Councilmember Leahmon Bryant told the Council that the Cobisa addition helps protect the SRA if Cobisa ever decides to sell out because Cobisa couldn’t see its water resource to anyone else.

“They only have the water to use to make power,” he explained.

However, Councilmember Fred Thomas, who voted against the new contract, was concerned that the citizens will be taken for a ride.

“It’s just a bad stigma to me,” he said, saying not having a fixed rate could cause water prices to skyrocket in the future.

“It’s going to cost a whole lot of money to bath around here,” Thomas said, predicting water costs are going to rise. “I feel in my heart the deal was done for the best interest of the SRA and not for the 27,000 people in Greenville.

Bryant responded by saying that the contract is a standard and SRA will not price gouge Greenville residents, but only raise prices when needed.

Thomas also accused Greenville Mayor Tom Oliver of pushing the contract through because of the mindset that the City needs water.

“I’m thinking about the citizens,” Thomas said.

Oliver responded by saying that he and all the other councilmembers have the citizen’s best interests at heart.

Wayne Gilmore did not attend the meeting and therefore did not vote.

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