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Salisbury city manager says Fibrant is “here to stay”

By Jessica Coates

jessica.coates@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY – Near the end of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, City Manager Lane Bailey said he wanted to make something clear.

“One of the things that I would like to stress to the public and everyone is that, regardless of whatever arrangement that we have, that Fibrant the utility is here to stay,” Bailey said.

He said Fibrant will either be leased out or another company will be contracted to manage the utility. He said it is unlikely that selling Fibrant would be the best option.

Bailey said the city sent out several requests for proposals on Fibrant’s future in January and that the city is now looking at “a couple of companies that we’ve whittled that list down to.”

He said he’s had people ask what companies the city is talking with, but that the companies do not wish to have their names released because they are involved in multiple discussions around the country.

The companies also are reviewing Fibrant to see how it works, he said.

He said he continues to hear from people who say that the city should simply walk away from Fibrant and the debt that it has created.

But he said the city cannot do that.

“If you all decide to do that,” Bailey said, looking toward the council, “you would soon hear from the state treasurer who would say, ‘Thank you very much, City Council. We’ll start running the city for you. And we’re going to make sure this debt is paid. That’s the first check we’ll write.’”

There was no indication that the council members had discussed that.

Bailey said the city had anticipated discussions with the unnamed companies would be finished by mid-2017. But because of the complexity of the negotiations, they are taking longer than expected, he said.

He said he hopes to have more information for both the council and the public soon.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

 

 

 

 

 

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