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PSDs: Consolidation effort must deliver benefits

Wood County officials have begun to consider consolidation of our many public service districts, with West Virginia Public Service Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Lane weighing in Monday.

“I am a firm believer that no West Virginian should lack water and adequate sewer services,” Lane said. “In other areas where consolidation has taken place it has been a big benefit.”

That may be true, but it will be up to the folks in Central Boaz, Claywood Park, Lubeck, Mineral Wells, Union Williams districts to decide whether such a change would be beneficial here.

Money is part of the conversation, too. American Recovery Act funds are available, and larger entities may find it easier to acquire those funds and use them to tackle maintenance, operations and extensions that had to be put on the back burner before.

Wood County Commissioners are forming a task force, and will begin serious discussion on the matter. The process will include public hearings, and those with helpful insight and ideas should make their voices heard.

“(Commissioners) would come up with a game plan about how to do this,” Lane said. “It can be done in phases or all at once. No obstacle is too big if we work to do this.”

Officials representing the smaller PSDs can be forgiven for being less enthusiastic than Lane is on the matter. As part of the task force, they can be counted on to ensure no move toward consolidation is made until they are certain it is what is best for residents of all service areas.

After hearing from the public and the task force, commissioners may, indeed, decide consolidation is best. Their plan to move forward must be meticulous in ensuring the disadvantages are outweighed by the benefits, for ALL Wood County residents.

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