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Rescue Plan: Parkersburg City Council should allocate funds for water projects

Parkersburg City Council members are right to want to get a jump on upcoming utility board projects with the help of American Rescue Plan funding.

Projects including replacing approximately 36,400 lineal feet of 6- to 12-inch water mains, replacing approximately 20,000 lineal feet of 2-inch and smaller water mains with 6- and 4-inch mains, building a booster station and storage tank to improve service pressure and fire protection in south Parkersburg and rehabilitating the wash water basin at the treatment plant could cost as much as $14.7 million. And it is important to address the needs before they become emergencies.

Meanwhile, Parkersburg has received more than $10.9 million from a planned $22 million in Rescue Plan funding. The idea is to use $7 million of that to get moving on the water projects while also taking care of some other items on the city’s needs list.

Council will vote today on allocating the money. When they do so, they (and the Parkersburg Utility Board) must bear in mind what PUB Manager Eric Bennett said.

“It will drastically lessen the impact or the need for a rate increase,” he said last week.

That is good news — and leads one to wonder whether there might be room in the remaining $11 million or so expected from the Rescue Plan funding to eliminate the need entirely.

Even reducing the needed rate increase is important for local residents who are watching their own budgets carefully. Council members will no doubt understand the need to make that happen, and get the ball rolling on this one.

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