Maybe time for Century to consider sell
January 23, 2020
“The gas has no money” is what Century's CPA Robert Hudson said Tuesday night when asked why the town's natural gas system was three years behind on payments.
The question and answer came up as the Century Town Council voted to use about $219,000 from the Local Option Sales Tax to pay off debts in the gas, water and sewer departments.
We remember back in the day when the natural gas system in Century and Flomaton were the 'cash cows' for the respective municipalities. When other departments needed money, that gas department had plenty.
Those days are apparently over. We don't know why, but profit and loss statements tell us that natural gas is not generating the surplus revenue it once did and apparently in Century it's not generating enough money to simply run the department.
Flomaton faced that realization years ago and sold its natural gas system to South Alabama Gas. That sale included a lump-sum payment to the town of Flomaton and the town now receives a franchise fee and no longer has the headache of repairing leaking gas lines.
We mentioned several months ago that Century possibly needs to explore following Flomaton's lead and sell its natural gas system. We actually reached out to South Alabama Gas and they said they would be interested.
Selling the natural gas system in Century may not be the best idea, but you never know until you look into the possibility. It's kind of like putting your house up for sale and if the price is right, you sell. If the price is not right, you don't sell.
Our bet is most things are for sale at the right price, but you don't know that price until you ask for quotes.
We're not saying Century needs to sell its natural gas system, but we do feel it would be beneficial to at least look at the option. The council can always say no. But who knows, the town may get an offer it can't refuse.