The battle over the Big Water sewer hit its pinnacle this past week as the community on June 26 voted down a funding package to survey the area and determine the necessity of the system as well as help put it in place.
The vote was 112 to 70.
Big Water Mayor Jade McBride said the issue is one that he inherited upon taking office and was a cause he believed needed to be addressed.
The package that was voted down included approximately $6.5 million in grants and loans to be used in the implementation of the sewer system.
Although he was one of the driving forces behind the failed push for the sewer system, McBride said he feels it was the right decision to have the community vote on it.
“People don’t like the government telling them what to do, so the right thing was to put it before the citizens and let them decide.”
Asked why he thought the issue failed to get enough votes, McBride responded, “There was a thick spread of misinformation, and those who came in and looked at the information changed their minds. Some people don’t even think we have a problem. I personally see it as a health concern and we are morally obligated to take care of our wastewater.”
McBride said that for now the issue is a done deal and the community has spoken, but hinted that he is of the belief that other state and federal agencies will soon be forcing a similar situation on the city, without such a funding package to assist with it.
On the other side of the fence, councilwomen Heather Rankin shares the same sentiment as McBride but in a slightly different light, saying that with the community turning down the sewer it is a clear sign that they need to move on to other issues such as getting their water rights transferred back under their control.
The debate over this issue was a long and heated with passion on both sides, McBride said, “And even though it was defeated, I am still positive that letting the citizens decide their own fate was the right thing to do.”
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