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City is right to take action

As a Devola resident in favor of the end to septic systems polluting our river and drinking water, I would like to thank Marietta City Council for coming together to unanimously approve action against the Washington County Commissioners for their tireless stalling of what needs to happen to keep our watersheds safe and make choices that benefit the health and wellness of the Devola community.

When I purchased my home in Devola in mid-2013, I did so understanding that work to connect to sewer would begin soon. If the Intergovernmental Agreement (contract) and funding not have been in place, I would not have moved to the Devola community. It should be noted, David White was on City Council and voted for the Intergovernmental Agreement. Then when he became a commissioner, he and the other commissioners lost a $400,000 sewer grant and $1,000,000 0% loan funding for the project. He was also part of the commission’s decision to use $365,000 from the County’s Capital Improvement Fund to pay off the Planning and Design loan for the Devola project. Now the entire county taxpayers are on the line for sewer debt. The cost to Devola residents of this project would have been very affordable and amortized into our property taxes had the commission acted in accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement and the terms of the procured funding plus other additional funding for low-to-moderate income folks. They have failed us by allowing politics and votes to influence their decisions. This must stop!

As I stated in my last letter to the editor, Gallia County Commissioners obtained grants/0%interest loans for a $9 million sanitary sewer system project, with each household paying $3,000 over a 20 or 30 years. Also, in my research of similar projects in other parts of Ohio indicate the cost to the homeowners would not be $20,000-$30,000 (as being currently told).

I am tired of worrying about the water we should be able to drink, what my son pulls out of the river when he’s fishing out at the dam on River Road. Yes, he throws the fish back but he still touches it. We don’t drink or cook with Devola water. We use bottled water. I’m tired of worrying about what could be going into the ground from the septic systems, the water in which we bathe, wash our clothes, brush our teeth, etc.

Meanwhile, the county commissioners continue to drag their feet on the matter, my family and friends in the city of Marietta limits continue to pay higher rates because the city has held up its end of the agreement and continue to expand the wastewater treatment facility to handle the volume of additional outlying communities. This is not right.

So thank-you Marietta City Council for standing strong on your end of this agreement and taking action when all other approaches seem to have failed to get the attention of the Washington County Commissioners.

In closing, I realize that my many friends and neighbors in Devola may disagree with me. To all of you, I urge you not to rely on the misinformation fed to you by the commissioners and the sewer naysayers. Do your own research to get the real facts on this matter. It is important for you and your families.

Paula Brockmeier lives in Devola.