To the editor:
I think it is now time to respond to Harry Andrews and his illogical comments concerning the Smithfield water transfer to Jefferson County.
He has been told numerous times that we, the commissioners, have no intention of raising water rates to take over Smithfield's water department. He writes, "This is hard for me to believe. ("Voters must get involved," Sept. 30.) Then, do not believe it. I do not know what else to tell you. But for the rest of the readers, here are the facts:
First, Smithfield residents have paid their water bills to village officials. Second, village officials did not pay the county for whatever reasons. Third, the first time Smithfield officials owed the county $250,000 in past bills. Fourth, the county took Smithfield to court and the court ordered Smithfield to pay the money. They did, and then the village officials did it again, and now they owe more than $150,000 and it is still climbing.
Do we keep going back to court with attorney fees? Smithfield cannot afford to even fix its system when there are problems, and the county then goes out and fixes the system for them. The writer does not like the fact that we fix the system. He would rather see 400 homes shut off from water, but these residents are paying the village. He would rather see babies go without water. He would rather see the elderly go without water. He would rather see health problems emerge because residents would be without water. He would rather see homes burned to the ground because there would be no water.
The writer thinks he knows more about the numbers than we do, and he is absolutely incorrect. By the county taking over Smithfield, the county will make $200,000 a year. In 10 years we will make more than $2 million from taking over Smithfield. To fix the system, it might take $800,000 during a 10-year period. The county will still be way ahead, and we can provide people with safe drinking water in Smithfield and beyond.
I am glad the writer is not doing the county math, but his own math, which is in la la land, but as usual, he gets to read his name in the paper, which is the attention he loves.