Last week the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority stepped up to the plate and hit a home run.
The Authority informed the Board of Commissioners of its decision to fund and contract the work involving two key studies of Lake Varner and the proposed Bear Creek Reservoir.
This was the right thing to do by the Water Authority since they are the biggest wholesale customer of county water. We don’t understand why the Water Authority hasn’t been a major partner in the ongoing discussions in regards to the future of county water in the first place.
Moreover, a bid to conduct similar work by Schnabel Engineering would have cost the county $86,000.
We are glad the Water Authority has stepped in to oversee these studies because we are starting to have concerns that the Schnabel Engineering company has muddied the waters by contributing to at least one BOC member’s political campaign. We suggest that any further dealings with this company be closely scrutinized and the $2 million bid that has already been awarded be looked at again.
We are fortunate to have adequate water in our county right now, but in order to handle the future residential and commercial growth that is predicted for Newton County, we need to plan for more water capability.
Is Bear Creek the answer? We are not sure.
There is a major new reservoir at Hard Labor Creek in Walton County which was intended as a regional resource and will be completed years before ground can be broken on Bear Creek. This might be our answer. If it is, then we will not have to spend the millions of dollars that will be needed to complete the Bear Creek project or any other project that might take its place.
It deserves some unbiased study by independent water experts, including the folks at our own Water Authority.