It is with gratitude that I write to thank you for shining a light on the situation at Locust Mobile Village (Page A4, Feb. 17.) It was good to have an EO reporter at the recent meeting of the Milton-Freewater City Council.
Unfortunately, the reporter missed one of two major concerns of the council. So let’s review the two topics briefly.
While the owner of Locust Mobile Village has steadfastly refused to make the necessary investment to solve her water quality problems for at least three decades, some of the neighboring property owners have solved the problem — and other neighbors are planning do so. Why should steadfast refusal to meet health and safety regulations lead to someone else (federal government) paying to solve the problem? Shouldn’t neighbors be reimbursed for the investment they’ve already made? How many additional property owners will be incentivized to not take care of their own private property issues because the state and the feds will fix it? Ultimately, the council might conclude that the benefits to the community outweighs the issue of federal dollars flowing to a private business simply because the owner steadfastly refuses to meet regulations.
But the more important issue, which was not reported, is that solving the water quality problem is only a partial solution to the problems which exist at Locust Mobile Village. It would be a Band-Aid on a broken leg. Any “solution” to the problems at Locust Mobile Village which does not address the issue of sewage is not really a solution. And addressing that problem will be the expensive part of the “solution.” If only safe water is provided but sewage has not been addressed, Milton-Freewater will be left holding the bag. And sooner or later the council will be taking heat to fix that problem for the property owner.
Scott Fairley of the governor’s office asked the council for two things to describe why we objected to the “solution” offered by the state and to commit to reconsider if our objections could be addressed. We forthrightly provided the information requested and we committed to reconsider if a better solution is formulated.
Please continue to shine light on deliberations involving the proper use of public funds and the development of holistic solutions to problems, OK?
Milton-Freewater city councilor