The recent article on council discussions pertaining to water rates and sidewalk repair was interesting and makes it clear that further homework is required before tax and spend decisions are made.
Water Department Superintendent Gary Evans’ assertion that the Flint, Michigan water crisis was the result of a city seeking cheap water solutions perhaps misstates the cause of the problem. The Flint crisis was carefully studied and reported by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, as well as law enforcement officials. Researchers found that then Republican governor Rick Snyder and his Republican administration were largely responsible for the crisis. Emergency managers for the city, appointed by Michigan state Republican leaders, undertook to change the city’s water source, concealing from city residents information available about contaminants in the water from the new source and its impact on the infrastructure. Republican politicians and their appointees in state government subsequently acted to conceal, minimize and lie about the ongoing poisoning of Flint residents, to such a degree that criminal investigations were initiated.
In Greenville, reported to be one of just a very few communities required to expend significant public funds to treat water for cryptosporidium contamination, there seems to be little discussion about investigation into the source(s) of the unusual pollution, and no effort to hold polluters responsible for ending the contamination and holding them monetarily and perhaps civilly or criminally liable for environmental and other damages. Where is the local political will and leadership to undertake these clearly logical and ethical steps? A recent letter to the editor called for farmers to be held accountable for the environmental damage, but more information is needed before a jump to such a conclusion. There are thousands of agricultural communities across the nation where this unique pollution is not a problem. Why not investigate and remedy the cause in Greenville?
Finally, it might be convenient to forestall sidewalk repair and maintenance, but willful failure by the city to maintain accessibility for persons with disabilities and prevent injury to users may result in liability costs that exceed temporary savings from ignoring the problem.