Editorial

7/13/2013

Who would have thought finding a home would be the difficult mission it's turned out to be for the Brunswick and Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission? Seven months into their term and members of the utility board appear to be no closer to having a home of their own than their predecessors did two-plus years ago.

They might even be inviting problems they don't need. Their latest interest in the old Barnett Bank building at 700 Gloucester St., a facility the utility has rented since its creation, has mold, they were told by an architect paid to evaluate the structure. Clearing the building of that, plus making what other adjustments to the structure that will be required, will cost nearly $800,000. And that doesn't even include the purchase price, whatever that might turn out to be.

Keep in mind the amount is just an estimate. There's a good possibility other issues will be found, especially ones that are mold-related, once the actual work commences.

By the way, it cost ratepayers quite a chunk of change for that bit of information.

Of course, the board could always return to the original plan and build on the Gloucester Street property it just had to have and paid $850,000 to acquire and prep for an office complex and base. The property is still owned by the Joint Water and Sewer Commission and available, after being cleared of asbestos, for use.

What the joint commission does not need to do is stretch this out another year, for yet another Joint Water and Sewer Commission to decide. All thoughts and efforts should be invested into expanding the water and sewer system, not on where members and utility employees will hang their hats.

New developments, following a long economy-induced lull, are on the horizon. More developers are seeking the county commission's approval to bypass utility lines and construct individual or neighborhood water and septic systems, a scenario past community health boards had hoped to avoid. We need all eyes of the Joint Water and Sewer Commission focused on the future, not on a decision that should have been made years ago.