Citizens first!

Published 8:23 pm Saturday, December 6, 2008

Those operating local government within the town of Aulander find themselves in an awkward position.

On one hand, they have, over the years, kept the cost at a bare minimum for the water and sewer services offered by the town to Aulander residents.

On the other hand, because of their compassionate spirit, the town has not kept pace with the rest of the state’s municipal and county water systems when it comes to ensuring those systems are self-supporting.

Now, Aulander officials are forced to play a game of catch-up.

In order to meet state and federal requirements to apply for and possibly receive water/sewer infrastructure grants, Aulander officials have no other option than to raise the rates for those two critical services.

The timing couldn’t be worse.

Individuals and families all across our great nation are feeling the financial pinch of a struggling economy. Across the board, the cost of conducting business and/or receiving services to sustain a household is increasing at an alarming rate. Meanwhile, many Americans are losing jobs or seeing their working hours reduced.

Those facts weighed heavily on the hearts of Aulander government officials. What they didn’t want to do was to add any more financial burden upon a population currently struggling to make ends meet.

But they have no other choice. Without grants to support water/sewer infrastructure improvements, the town could not afford to tackle those costly projects on their own. Without at least making some sort of effort to raise water/sewer rates to bring the cost of those services more in line with state standards, those entities making the grants available would not even look Aulander’s way.

To rectify its awkward position, Aulander officials have opted to pass along gradual increases over a period of time instead of opting to follow the state’s suggestion of doubling the rates overnight.

We commend Town of Aulander officials…the mayor and council members…for putting the best interest of the citizens first while still providing these vital services at an affordable rate.