When The Profits Go, So Does Your Water

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Editor:

A few remarks regarding the acquisition of the Pine/Strawberry water system. Before moving here over five years ago, I researched the area prior to making the final decision. I knew of the water problems that existed at the time.

In the intervening five years, there has been little to no improvement via PSWID or Brooke Utility relative to long-term solutions. In light of two more subdivisions being added, each with their own, adequate water supply, I question the assertion that the "water just isn't there." Something else is afoot.

With the acquisition of the water service from a private company whose bottom line is "bottom line," Pine/Strawberry could improve the situation via a community owned and run utility service where all current water resources are combined into one entity. Water is not an option, it is a necessity. To have such a vital requirement linked to corporate dividends/profit is courting disaster for any community. The second the profits go, so does your water service, plain and simple.

Admittedly there is a considerable cost in the purchase of any business and of that there should be no illusions. The difference between municipal/community provided services as opposed to private/investor provided services is the purpose for the business to even exist.

One (community/municipal) is to provide the service to its customers at a break-even cost, while the other is to provide service at a cost that can pay profits/dividends to its investors while making the least amount of re-investment into the service. Any service improvement is passed on to the customer via higher fees, not through the reduction in the corporate "bottom line."

Is the security of the customers owning/operating the water service for their own needs worth the cost associated with acquiring the service from Brooke Utility? Time will tell how the property owners in Pine/Strawberry choose to come down on this issue. Just how much is a glass of water worth when you are dying of thirst? I don't think one would want to wait until they're in that situation to find the answer.

Ron Hamrick, Pine

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