HUD Should Give Brilliant the Money

Federal officials still are being hard-headed about a simple mistake that could cost Brilliant water and sewer customers $500,000. That needs to end.

Brilliant Water and Sewer District officials are planning $3.6 million in upgrades, including a new water treatment plant. For a time, it had been expected the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would provide a $500,000 grant to help defray the cost.

In May, HUD officials withdrew their offer of a grant, however. It seems some paperwork was not filed on time by the then-director of the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission. He resigned.

Since the agency’s decision was revealed, local officials have been trying to convince HUD to alter its course.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, is trying to help. Last week, Jefferson County commissioners agreed to allow aides in Johnson’s office access to files on the Brilliant situation.

Commissioner Thomas Graham estimates there is a 50-50 chance of convincing HUD officials to change their minds.

50-50? A coin toss, in effect? Come on.

The former local official who made the mistake has already paid a dear price — his job.

Brilliant water and sewer customers should not have to pay higher rates to make up for the error — which they had no way of knowing had occurred.

It should not require intervention by a member of Congress for HUD officials to recognize that pulling back on the grant is an injustice. Describing Washington as a swamp is being charitable, some believe. Actions such as that involving the Brilliant grant reinforce that attitude.

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