Shared wastewater only worthwhile if it benefits taxpayers

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This newspaper has long been of the opinion that careful consideration of opportunities for shared-services arrangements between Western Tidewater localities can only serve to benefit the taxpayers of Western Tidewater. On the heels of a joint meeting between Franklin’s city council and Southampton County’s board of supervisors, held to discuss the preliminary findings of a study regarding the feasibility of shared wastewater treatment options, we maintain that position steadfastly today.

Important to note, however, is that we support the implementation of such arrangements only if it clearly benefits all parties involved. Dale Mullen, an attorney with McGuireWoods Consulting who is working on the feasibility study, stated, “The primary consideration is asking, ‘What is in the best interest of the county taxpayer? What is in the best interest of the city taxpayer?’” He continued, “Every conversation we have had revolves around those two considerations.”

And at the end of the proverbial day, those are the only two considerations that bear any weight. If a shared wastewater system is shown through careful study to have long-range benefit for the taxpayers of both localities, then a joint venture is warranted. If not, the matter should be dropped.

The burden of proof falls to the feasibility study and the consultants’ ability to show the project as a win-win for both sets of taxpayers. We await the findings and will study them with an open mind. Residents of Franklin and Southampton County should do the same.