County should discuss $1.25M

A $1.25 million windfall for Washington County is good news to be sure, but we’d like county officials to share publicly a more specific breakdown of how that money will be spent.

Washington County Commissioners signed a lease agreement this week with MNW Energy LLC, for a lease near the Washington County Home. The energy company is leasing the oil and gas rights for about 15 acres of land for five years.

Commissioners have said they won’t go on a spending frenzy with the money, and that’s smart. We learned Friday $450,000 did go into the county’s newly created budget stablization fund and $802,407.50 went to the county’s capital improvement fund. Prior to signing the lease there was no money in the stabilization fund and we’re curious as to what plans commissioners have for this money.

Commissioners expressed the desire for the money to benefit the county for years to come. And we would agree. That’s why we think it would be wise to invest a portion of this money with an eye toward future growth. As for capital improvements, we would like to see some details on the types of projects the commissioners would spend that money on. We’d like to see them get some public input on what projects to fund as well.

County officials are to be commended for taking steps to secure this revenue from oil and gas leases and doing so in an agreement that looks to have very little impact if any on the Washington County Home itself. And we agree with a conservative approach to handling the money. But we would like to see some public discussion in the near future on how that money will be used.