Local Government Cooperation Key

A few bits of news last week may have seemed to fall into the “feel good” category, and they were that, but also much more. They were a preview of the local government future in our region.

About a week ago, we told you about the Belmont County villages of Bethesda and Belmont, which have begun sharing equipment and services to save money. Among their biggest joint endeavors was purchase of a $155,000 street sweeper. The two towns split the cost evenly and share the machine.

Belmont and Bethesda also share other equipment, ranging from backhoes to fire trucks. They may explore the possibility of combining fire departments.

Also in the news last week was a story about waterline breaks in Tiltonsville. Brilliant sent two municipal employees to help out.

Finally, we reported that the YTR Coalition, formed by Yorkville, Tiltonsville and Rayland officials in 2014, may increase cooperative activities. Police and fire protection have been mentioned.

Here in the Ohio Valley, we always help neighbors when they need assistance. But a strong sense of pride in our individual communities often has prevented cooperation such as that we reported last week. Seeing more of it is a very good thing.

But as populations in many towns shrink and local budgets become tighter, such cooperation is more than merely gratifying. Going forward, it will be imperative.