Brown: ‘We didn’t go far enough’
Our county has got to focus on insuring that we resolve problems quickly and efficiently if we want to be in a good position coming out of the economic recession.
You have, no doubt, read with great interest about the ongoing plight of the Fayette County Water System. Obviously, the water system reaches a large number of residents within the county. Obviously, again, we expect clean water coming to our taps.
We have all had to endure a series of very unfortunate events with the water system. Since the beginning of May, I have had a crash course in water production and delivery.
I will be honest and say that the term “disappointment” does not even begin to describe how I feel.
Up to this point, I have seen mismanagement, misdiagnosis of water problems, poor maintenance, alarmingly poor communication, incompetence, poor planning and the inability of management to assume responsibility.
I was recently told that during my first two years as a county commissioner that water plants had to be shut off seven times. I was never informed of a single episode.
Based on what I have personally witnessed, recognizing the enormous impact the water system has on our citizenry, I have consistently maintained that top management in the system needs to be terminated.
Our County Administrator, with the support of the remaining commissioners, has recommended other measures that would be considered firm punishment under most scenarios. A press release has been disseminated on that subject.
While any disciplinary action is a step in the right direction, my personal opinion is we did not go far enough. However, the decision has been made and vetted through the Board of Commissioners, so we will move on.
There will be millions of dollars in expenses to bring the water treatment facilities up to an acceptable standard.
The county has some significant problems to address. You have a Board of Commissioners committed to taking on the challenge.
We have the stormwater infrastructure projects to vote on in November. The culverts and dams need to be addressed.
The cyclical fund for purchasing vehicles and heavy equipment was on its way to being de-funded by the previous board. Obviously, not having the funds to cycle the replacement of our patrol cars and other vehicles will cause significant problems down the road.
Some people misunderstood that when we said we worked to balance the budget after years of deficit spending, we were not saying all the financial problems were resolved.
Yes, expenditures do meet revenue projections and that is a good thing. However, if we fail to address those imminent issues you will experience serious financial problems in the near future.
Using the reserves to fund the replacement of failed stormwater infrastructure will only get you so far and put you in an even more hazardous future position.
The general public was not aware of these problems in the past. There are no excuses now as we all are aware of what is going on.
Steve Brown, Chairman
Fayette County Board of Commissioners