Read Jody Barrett’s Statement to the County Commissioners at the 10/24 Meeting Below!
Clean, dependable drinking water is an absolute essential for human survival. It is number 1 on the list of priorities of any organized society.
As we continue to debate Hickman County’s relationship with the Water Authority of Dickson County, I hope that you all will seriously weigh the intent of the federal funds available through the Federal Infrastructure Bill. Since the Flint, Michigan water system crisis in 2014, the US has seen numerous system failures from coast to coast…the most recent in Jackson, Mississippi this summer. Aging technology and aging materials are reaching the end of their expected life cycle, and municipalities must take action now to invest in properly repairing and upgrading these systems to insure the quality of life for future generations.
We are fortunate to have the opportunity to fully invest in the public water system that serves Hickman County’s largest community and county seat. Diverting any funds from the repairs and upgrades to the system that provides clean, dependable drinking water to the citizens of Hickman County for any other purpose would be malpractice, or at least gross negligence. Indeed, one of the many complaints about government and politicians is that taxpayer monies are often misappropriated for purposes other than what they were intended for. I urge the duly elected commissioners of Hickman County to do the unexpected by refusing to be distracted by outside influences and choosing to utilize these infrastructure funds for their intended purpose for the betterment of the greatest number of citizens and the future of your community.
An article in Scientific American (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-growing-drinking-water-crisis-threatens-american-cities-and-towns/) spells out the magnitude of the challenge we face:
“Regarding conveyance, the number of water-main failures is estimated at around 850 daily in North America. And then the treatment systems—we have increasing reports of pathogens in drinking water, which lead to “boil water” notices. That trend has been driving more and more people to consume bottled water or to buy filtration systems. So in totality, each of the components is aging and failing, and the reliability of service in each component is now a question mark. This is why one has to think about how they can collectively be upgraded. Smaller communities in particular do not have the financial or technical resources to actually figure out what they should do. And so as a result, we have a systemic risk of failure.”
We know that landowners and developers in Hickman County have been told by officials with the Water Authority of Dickson County that WADC has limited capacity on the sewer line that currently runs to East Hickman High School. Millions of dollars of investment in Hickman County are being held up by WADC’s excuse that they cannot add anymore service to the existing line. If that is the case, how is it that WADC can extend a service line from Hwy 46/Hwy 7 to Lyles to connect three school buildings without overloading the line that is already at capacity according to their own engineers? These two things cannot both be true at the same time. If WADC cannot approve two projects at the corner of Hwy 46 and Hwy 100 due to capacity issues they cannot simultaneously add three school buildings to the same system without any upgrades to WADC’s existing transmission line, pumps and/or lift stations that are NOT located in Hickman County. If those private developments are declined while this unnecessary public project is approved, lawsuits will immediately follow.
Choosing to do the right thing is simultaneously the most simple and most difficult decision at times. However, it’s a decision you’ll never regret making years later. I am certain that I will find myself in your shoes many, many times in the next two years as your State Representative. I hope you’ll reach out to remind me when the time comes to do the right thing and use taxpayer dollars the way they were intended to be used at the state level.
God bless you for serving your county and putting yourself in the difficult position of having to make decisions like this. Your family, your friends, and your neighbors thank you and pray for you…as do I.
Remember when Steve Gianokos, Ron Mayberry and Carla Moore spoke out in opposition of the WADC and advocated for Hickman County to make their own decisions? They seem to have forgotten. Help remind these County Commissioners the promises they made!