Who should pay?

  • Published in MyView

By Steve Zonies

To quote a sentence from Jim Boylan’s letter to the editor in last week's [The] Valley Reporter: “It is obvious to everyone [sic] that those customers who are on the water system should pay.” When someone makes such a sweeping, blanket and false statement such as that with no verification, the accuracy of subsequent comments and opinions are questionable. Except for similar physics, fluid dynamics and plumbing, funding public and private systems are necessarily different.

In response to Vic Dumas’ letter: My short story: From a 600-foot-deep well, we at Fiddlers Green had all the potable water we needed for merely $10 per month to pump it. I agreed to join the community system; because, very few things in this life on Earth are more important than both obtaining fresh, clean, pure water and eliminating contaminated wastewater, much more so, in my opinion, than pocket parks, half-million-dollar rec fields or other numerous “unnecessary, optional and discretionary” expenses. Many wells in downtown Waitsfield were surrounded by failing septic systems, putting the public’s health at risk. Subscribers were needed; so, as a community service I joined, invested thousands and agreed to $800 minimum fee per year; because, Vic, it isn’t always just about me. It isn’t always just about you, either. “All for one and one for all.”

As for your second point: This isn’t the first time we’ve been “lied” to by federal, state or local government officials. It won’t be the last either, because they are permitted to hide behind and exploit sovereign immunity. What really upsets me most of all is that “they” rode into town, destroyed our new water system and then left us with the bill and neighbor against neighbor. Some acquaintances with whom I’ve been friends for decades are now adversaries, while The Destroyers themselves suffered not even a blemish. Then, to add even more insult to (both) injuries, we the taxpayers paid their salaries, the excavator, the repair and both sides of legal fees. Egregious. Outrageous. Unconscionable. What a system. “They” wonder why there is distrust, lack of respect and resentment of government? Look no further than Montpelier.

Other acquaintances justified this burden as "the cost of doing business." Yes, that was true, and we agreed to it at sign-up. However, are we to casually accept this increase solely due to others' incompetent mistakes? How about personal users? Must they also pay this particular expense as a cost-of-living increase through the fault of others and not their own?

"To err is human," unavoidable and expected; but if you or I had destroyed public property, we would have been drawn and quartered by that same government.

Zonies is a resident of Fayston.