Feedback from an Operator
We sent all of the operators in Illinois some information about SmallWaterSupply.org and asked them a few questions about their system, jobs, and status. We received a letter back from a small community operator who we think speaks for many of his peers. Here is what he wrote:
To Whom It May Concern:
As water systems age and decay – like the operators are – you see many small systems that can’t afford to rebuild, expand, or pay decent wages to decent people. Small communities find themselves then stuck between keeping their own system going with duct tape and baling wire or rebuilding with huge rate increases to a declining population and a dead employment market.
Another option is to “give up” and let the evil big shots come in and take over – also with a big rate increase. I understand how bad a smell that thought is to a small town that feels like they are giving up part of their town to outsiders. Often, its way to late to keep it from happening – and forward planning, along with action that mirrors it – could avoid the pain.
As for my system – I look forward to evolving from expansion to efficiency. We want to serve everyone within the confines of our charter, and be not only a vital provider – but a good neighbor as well. How about lobbying for – in lieu of construction grant money – which is dying – debt forgiveness based on area economy conditions and violation-free operation? Nothing would help us operate in a rate-reducing schedule like working strictly on our own cash. Sure wish my government would try that.
We appreciate your letter, Kevin!