Murdale water customers fear paying for Wal-Mart's water

Murdale water customers fear paying for Wal-Mart's water
By: Carly O'Keefe
Jackson County, IL - The battle over a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Southern Illinois turned into a water fight.
When customers heard the Murdale Water District board plans to pay the majority of an $800,000 bill to build a new water tower, they feared they would pay for the retail giant's access to water.
Friends for Fair Growth, a Jackson County group that has long opposed Wal-Mart's relocating to the proposed County Club Road location, filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain board meeting minutes on the possible infrastructure improvements.
Tuesday night, customers and members of Friends for Fair Growth attended the Murdale Water District Board meeting to voice concerns and question district trustees about the plans.
Murdale Water customer John Cotter discussed problems he's had with water pressure at his home, and suggested the trustees to put their customers' interest before Wal-Mart.
"I think these priorities are off. I could care less about Wal-Mart, I have brown water coming out of my faucet," Cotter said.
Board Chairman Robert Varner said the new tower will help with water pressure issues, not only for Wal-Mart but for nearby customers too. Trustees told the curious customers that they approached Wal-Mart about building the tower, not the other way around as many folks previously believed.
Wal-Mart originally planned to construct its own underground water tank. The Murdale Water District has wanted to build a new tower for some time. According to Varner, it made sense to pool resources to build a tower that would benefit all.
Still, ratepayers wondered if they would bear the brunt of the nearly $600,000 infrastructure investment. Varner stated at this time no rate increases are planned or anticipated to construct the 300,000 gallon tower.