With some elected officials, a regional water district is not a popular choice. It takes away the ability for their municipality to set rates, which is a form of control at budget time.
Brocton Mayor David Hazelton said as much during the meeting of the North County Water Agency on Thursday before voting for the plan.
"After reviewing the options, we are in favor of option two with Dunkirk and Fredonia as the purveyor of the water," Hazelton said. "I realize that takes Brocton out of the picture, but our plant needs a lot of work.
"Even though we are ready to do that work, we are also a high-cost provider. Keeping us in the system would drive everyone's cost up. Having said that, unless the village of Brocton has some voice in the pricing and a member on the board that sets the pricing, we'll stay on our own. Like I said, we don't necessarily want to do that. I think this is good for the region and the community to all be in one system, but we have to have a voice in the cost."
Hazelton had a lot at stake by being one of 10 voting members to approve the first step in moving forward. He also was correct when he stated "this is good for the region and the community to all be in one system."
But in voting "yes," Hazelton made a sacrifice: the Brocton water plant.
That's right, community residents and elected leaders, for any regional efforts to come to fruition to change the downward spiral of our economic system, sacrifice has to happen. What Hazelton did was not easy, but it was one of common sense.
Brocton's water system has some high costs associated with it. The system also needs some work. Lower rates, obviously, will come to the system if Brocton is out.
Common sense is easy to figure out, but sometimes tough for elected officials to follow through on when votes are on the line.
In this case, however, community leaders deserve credit for their support on Thursday night in taking a step toward a regional system. Brocton's leadership, for understanding the sacrifice and common sense issue, deserves a standing ovation.