It was another opportunity to make a major dent in the longtime push for a north-end regional water district. Last week, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer urged federal support for the town of Westfield to make critical repairs to the Barcelona community's aging and damaged water lines.
"Left to shoulder the burden on their own, rate payers and local taxpayers will have to carry the water - we can't let that happen," he said. "I'm strongly urging the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) to invest in Chautauqua County's rural communities by helping make this repair project a reality. In this day and age, nobody in Upstate New York should be forced to spend their hard-earned money on bottled water because they don't have safe water themselves, or spend hours boiling the water they need. We need to get this fixed, and get it fixed soon."
We agree - "get this fixed, and get it fixed soon."
What we do not agree with, however, is the U.S. government - and Schumer - allowing these funds to be distributed without the stipulation that this rural system must become part of a regional water district in the future. Much of the problem with local control in this county is a stubborn attitude to not be a part of a regional distribution system.
Schumer can help be a part of this solution by not allowing the stubborn ways to continue. If the community agrees to the water district, funds can pour in. If not, the funds should not be distributed and those local residents should come up with the $1 million for repairs.