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Proceed With Utilities Study

Good for St. Clairsville officials for deciding to delay a formal decision on whether to privatize the city’s water and sewer systems until after Jan. 1. And good for Aqua Ohio, the company interested in buying the systems, for suggesting the move — and giving local officials some breathing room on the matter.

City Council members agreed this week to postpone action on the controversial issue until after Jan. 1, when those elected to office on Nov. 5 will take office. Among them is a new mayor, Kathryn Thalman, who has expressed reservations about selling the utilities.

During Monday’s meeting, Mayor Terry Pugh read a letter from Aqua Ohio, extending its offer to buy the systems until April 6. That gives incoming city officials time to consider the matter.

They should use the time wisely, by commissioning an independent study of the water/sewer situation. The sooner that can be done, the sooner council members — and St. Clairsville residents — will have more information on which to base decisions about selling to Aqua Ohio.

Money and time spent on a study of the water and sewer systems’ viability would be an excellent investment, if only to deal with some of the controversy over the issue.

Council members should not wait until the newly elected officials are in office to proceed with the study. A vote now to go ahead with it could provide a report soon enough to be helpful in making the decision on privatization.

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