Tacoma’s water will be sold to a bottling company that plans to move to East Pierce County in spring of next year.
The Tacoma City Council approved a contract Tuesday between Tacoma Water and Niagara Bottling, LLC, a California-based company that plans to start construction on a $50-million bottling plant in Frederickson this fall.
Niagara hopes to open its 311,111-square foot plant in about April 2014, said Tony Lindgren, Tacoma Water’s distribution engineering manager.
About a quarter of the 1 million gallons the Niagara plant is expected to use each day will be sold at an 8 percent discount under the contract the City Council approved Tuesday.
For any water used beyond that, Niagara would pay the standard rate Tacoma Water charges large-volume commercial and industrial users.
The discount will kick in July 1, 2014.
Tacoma Water officials estimate the deal with Niagara will provide the utility with about $800,000 in additional revenue each year, along with a projected $3.2 million in one-time fees.
The bottling plant is also expected to employ 36 people – a jobs projection that helped earn the support of city officials.
“I think we do need to create jobs and the synergy that is created with that,” said Tacoma City Councilwoman Lauren Walker.
The board of Tacoma Public Utilities already approved the Niagara contract at a meeting in June.
“It’s a good deal for us, and it’s a good deal for our customers,” said Chris Gleason, a spokeswoman for Tacoma Public Utilities.
Denise Dyer, Pierce County’s economic development director, said the jobs that Niagara is expected to bring to Pierce County – as well as its $50 million investment in a bottling plant— will be an economic boon for the region.
“We competed hard for this project,” Dyer said Tuesday. “They’re really serious about being good community partners.”
Tacoma resident Kit Burns has opposed the Niagara contract at public meetings, saying the company shouldn’t be given a discount on water because it will produce plastic bottles that are harmful to the environment.
“I don’t believe we should be giving them any incentive, because they are going to make such a huge profit from what they’re selling anyway,” Burns said Tuesday.