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Speak out on utility expansion

To the Editor,

“Build it and they will come,” was a feel good Hollywood fantasy, not reality. Yet, that is the rationale before Weirton council to expand our water and sewage treatment facilities. Presently, we utilize three-fourths of our water and sewage capacity which means we have 25 percent in reserve. But, it is being proposed that we double our existing water treatment facilities and triple our sewage treatment capacity. Why? On the word of three people — Mayor Miller; Mark Miller, development director; and Butch Mastrantoni, utilities head. They believe if we build it, they will come.

All that council members know is there are “prospects” who don’t want to be identified that may locate here if we have sufficient water and sewage capacity to accommodate them. On that basis, council is being asked to pass a resolution to borrow $2.6 million for the design of an estimated $25 million expansion.

I don’t know what is in the water here, because I don’t drink it. But to go for a proposal like that is worse than buying into the idea Weirton needed a convention center! That foolishness cost us $35,000. This one will will cost $25 million, which translates on average into approximately $200 per year rate increase per customer for the next 20 years.

I am beginning to think our local leadership is like a kid in a candy store. They don’t appear to think things through. They latch onto an idea as if it were the greatest thing since sliced bread without sufficiently weighing the downside.

There is too little information, there are no guarantees, and we don’t even know what type of industry needs this amount of sewage capacity. So how can council make an intelligent decision with such scant information, let alone the citizenry?

There will be a public hearing on this issue at October’s city council meeting. It behooves those who care, to inform council what they think of this proposal.

Blaise Hogan

Weirton

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