Friday, October 24, 2008

Let's talk about water

Let's talk about water.

There is a very expensive effort being put forth in Adams County to get a bond issue passed in the November election that will provide up to $10 million for the preservation of land and water resources.

Here is the ballot language from the "Vote Yes for Adams Water and Land" website.

"Shall debt in a sum not to exceed 10 million dollars be authorized for the purposes of financing land conservation and preservation efforts, including protection of drinking water sources, stream water quality, wildlife habitat, farmland, open space and recreation lands, all for future generations, to be incurred as debt approved by the electors of Adams County, with lands preserved solely in cooperation with willing sellers, and ensuring that an annual independent audit evaluates program success?"
Now, ordinarily we would be proud to support such an effort. But something about this advertising campaign strikes a bad chord with us. There are mass mailings, sometimes two or three separate pieces per day of slick brochures pressing voters to vote for this initiative. This is new to us. They, whoever "they" are, certainly are spending a lot of money to push this.

So we look at the wording of the bond issue, and what is on the website, and we see the potential for a bomb in this bond issue.

Adams County has been under full sail to build twenty thousand houses over the next few years. Now with the current financial crisis, and the housing market bust, that is on hold. So what can the Adams County powers-that-be do with money they raised taxes to obtain to support the construction of the houses? One word: PIPE.

We are talking about running pipe from the Susquehanna River, across York County, and across half of Adams County, some 40 plus miles, of huge water pipe.

And what better way to protect the water sources and resources of the county than by piping in several million gallons per day from a site dozens of miles away?

We see the potential for this happening in the bond issue. $10 million dollars will buy a lot of pipe. It won't buy all of it. But it will buy a lot. And the more water that gets pumped here, the less that needs to be taken from our creeks, and reservoirs. That's preservation at its worst.

And when the financial and housing crisis resolves in a few years, the water will be here to support the construction of new malls, new manufacturing plants, and of course, twenty thousand new homes.

Remember, "If you build it they will come." This campaign is too slick and smacks of too much money behind it.

We do hope we are wrong, but...this one smells to high heaven.


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