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Hire Independent Consultant

Editor, News-Register:

St. Clairsville’s mayor is not willing to hire an ndependent out-of-town consultant. An independent consultant would be vested with duties to include evaluating the water plants, recommending if the city should get on county water and providing an estimate of how much the water rates would increase.

Currently, Aqua Ohio is the sole bidder to offer to take over the city’s water and sewer systems. Aqua Ohio is a water privatization company based in Akron. The independent consultant would provide feedback garnered from officials in cities and towns who have used Aqua Ohio.

The St. Clairsville City Service Director, James Zucal, has not applied for any grants or loans. He and the mayor have not traveled to Columbus to seek financial support. They have not even gone to the Belmont County commissioners for advice.

A wise and honest person would make the necessary repairs and get on Belmont County water. City Service Director Zucal said in a recent meeting that he doesn’t doubt Aqua Ohio, if successful in taking over the water system, would get water from the Belmont County Water Department. St. Clairsville doesn’t need to put its future in the hands of a company that has to please its shareholders and not the citizens.

City leaders refuse to be concerned about the hardships the selling, and privatization, of the water and sewer plants will place on senior citizens, hardworking families and their children and their children’s children. Why? Because the fix is in. The city leaders have made so many bad investments that they look at the sale of the water and sewer plants as a bailout that will clear the debt.

Mr. Mayor, quit forming bogus committees that are weighted down with people who will vote the way you want. Hire an independent out-of-town consultant.

William S. Brooks

St. Clairsville

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