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Steubenville, county on the right track

December 18, 2011
The Herald-Star

Local government works best when it works together.

It may have been once acceptable for villages, cities and the county to be islands unto themselves when there were factories and jobs everywhere.

Now, many of those factories are shuttered and closed. Money to operate essential services, such as water, police, garbage and street repairs, is getting tight.

Local government can no longer be loners.

Bringing local governments together will require a new chapter in history and forgetting past differences.

Unfortunately, some members of local government carry on the feuds and put their personal differences way ahead of their real responsibility of being an elected official.

Important first steps have been taken by Steubenville and Jefferson County officials to forge a new history of working together.

Steubenville is the largest city in the county and the county seat. It offers a hub of retail and commercial opportunities. The city unfortunately is financially limping along like many other cities in the region and across the country.

Jefferson County government also is facing tough times. About $1 million will have to be trimmed from the budget for next year. County workers face possible layoffs, and taxpayers may find it more difficult to access services.

Members of Steubenville Council, the city manager and the county commissioners have been meeting formally and informally for the past several months. The county needs the city to treat sewage from Pottery Addition once a sewer system is installed there.

Both sides went back and forth negotiating before an agreement was reached to benefit both communities. The city gets a boost in cash and the county gets the benefit of treating sewage from an area that is under a state mandate for sewers without the added cost of building its own treatment plant.

Council and the commissioners also are working on how a countywide port authority will be formed and how many appointees each side will have. Market Street once seemed like an ocean - keeping city and county officials apart. Now it appears both sides have made a bridge that will ultimately benefit the residents of the city and the entire county.

After all, that is what government is about. It is the people, not the elected officials.

Keep up the good work on both sides of Market Street. The people need it.

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