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Town and county say g'bye to water saga, FINALLY

This week, Franklinton town officials were expecting to send out hello and goodbye letters to its utility customers.

And, with that, I can finally say good riddance to a water and sewer struggle that cropped up in the spring of 2010 and raged for nearly five years.

At least publicly, the first sign of distress occurred when the state Treasurer's Office informed Franklinton that its enterprise fund rate structure was not sufficient.

Essentially, the state said, the rates were not sustainable and Franklnton warned that it may raise utility rates.

That, as you can imagine, caused Franklin County -- the town's largest customer -- some heartburn.

When the town raised its rates, the county began exploring other, cheaper water options.

Flashforward a few months later and the heartburn was turning into full-fledged indigestion.

A drought prompted town officials to issue water restrictions and -- most importantly -- shut off its water supply to Franklin County.

That decision did not sit well, at all, with the county's staff and officials.

By the fall of 2010, Franklin County fired off a letter, stating that the county was in breach of its 40-year contract to provide the county with water.

The town sent back its own letter, stating the county was mistaken.

By January of 2011, the town filed a complaint in court, asking a judge to sort out the matter because by that time, the county had eschewed available Franklinton water and bought it elsewhere.

The county responded with a countersuit.

Private sessions were held between both boards, but they could not reach a conclusion.

Feelings were hurt, I'm sure.

Finally, the town decided that it would sell its utility system to Franklin County.

That brought about further discussions, negotiations and hurt feelings -- I'm sure -- by members of the board and residents, who filled the Franklinton High School and other meeting places urging Franklinton commissioners to either hold onto the asset or let it go.

Eventually, and I say eventually because nothing about this has been easy, the utility system was sold.

The county closed on the project this spring and now is officially the operator of the system.

To commemorate that, town staff was planning to send out a hello letter from Franklin County, advising any customers who might not be aware that they now operate the system.

The town drafted a goodbye letter, thanking residents and businesses that had been loyal customers.

With that, this saga is finally over.

And it's about time. After all this, I was beginning to flinch at the sight and sound of water, period.


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