The City of Storm Lake and Bil-Mar/Sara Lee have entered into a water agreement that will guarantee revenue for water plant renovation if that industry should ever dramatically cut water use or leave town.
It is similar to an agreement reached last year between the city and IBP/Tyson, and something council members have asked city staff to work on.
The city is currently in the process of a $7 million water treatment plant renovation project and well field expansion. When that began, the city did not have long-term water agreements with either of the town's meatpacking plants, which are the largest users of city water.
Council members expressed reservations that if either plant would leave town or cut water use, the cost of the renovation and expansion would fall on the shoulders of residential water users.
Councilman Dennis Vaudt said he was pleased with the pact.
"It's very important to the future of our community and this gives us an insurance policy," Vaudt said.
The Storm Lake City Council approved the water agreement at yesterday's council meeting.
The agreement locks in water rates for Bil-Mar, while also providing the city an assured revenue source to help finance the improvements underway at the Water Treatment Plant and well field improvements.