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Allowing Study Of Water Proposal

If a vote taken by St. Clairsville City Council last week is any indication, sale of the municipal water system to Aqua Ohio may be a foregone conclusion.

Why? Is not getting right a decision that will stick with St. Clairsville for decades to come worth a few months’ delay?

Council members are considering the sale as a way of dealing with millions of dollars’ worth of repairs and upgrades that must be made to the water system. Proponents of privatizing water treatment and distribution say the city simply cannot afford such an expense without drastic rate increases.

Last week, council heard first reading of proposed contracts that would result in sale of the system to Aqua Ohio. Normal procedure is for such matters to go through three readings, at separate meetings, with a vote on approval after the third reading.

Also last week, council heard the second reading of a proposed ordinance that would delay action on privatization until after an independent study of the matter is concluded. It has been estimated such a study would require about 90 days.

During their meeting, council members voted on whether to adopt the study ordinance immediately. That motion failed in a 4-3 vote — possibly indicating that four members of council already have made up their minds that selling to Aqua Ohio is a good idea.

Perhaps it is. But why not delay the action for three months in order to conduct the study? Opponents of such action should reconsider, for the good of St. Clairsville residents.

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