Somehow we suspect saving money on public utilities would make most people in Jefferson County awfully proud of their elected representatives. But in the past, turf wars and misguided parochialism have stymied cooperation among local governments.
Last week Jefferson County commissioners and Steubenville city officials signed a cooperative agreement to provide sewerage service to Pottery Addition, just north of the city. A $2.3 million county project is providing pipelines and other facilites to take sewage away from about 110 homes and businesses. From Pottery Addition, the waste will be piped to Steubenville's sewage treatment plant.
It seems like a logical plan but it required city-county cooperation that was hailed by one official as "historic." What a shame such a common-sense agreement wasn't viewed as normal operating procedure.
After signing of the Pottery Addition pact, Steubenville City Councilman Gerald DiLoreto said he'd like to see city-county cooperation on water service. That would save money, he pointed out.
"We need to get together and forget the pride. I know it will be tough," DiLoreto commented. Again, has it not occurred to anyone in the past to take pride in saving money for taxpayers?
Joining forces with the county is not the only cooperative venture Steubenville officials have discussed during recent weeks. Similar efforts with other municipalities also have been considered.
That is wonderful news for Jefferson County residents - and perhaps for some in neighboring counties. Instead of insisting on small, relatively expensive in per-unit terms public projects, local governments should try more teamwork. It could pay off handsomely for East Ohio residents at a time when cutting the cost of government at all levels is on many minds.