Archived Story

Mandates require clear plan

Published 8:54am Friday, December 7, 2012

Everyone has heard the old cliché that “Life isn’t fair.” Well, the reality is that the federal government isn’t always fair either.

Certainly that is the case with the variety of unfunded mandates that have been levied on Lawrence County’s municipalities — and ultimately its taxpayers — in recent years. But the bottom line is these mandates spark needed improvements in a timeframe outlined by the various agencies. Perhaps no one has felt this impact more than the city of Ironton and its residents.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s requirement that the city separate its stormwater and sewer systems is one that residents are still paying for and likely will be for another decade until the project is completed.

The latest mandate has come from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and says the city has about two years to make significant improvements to its floodwall system including removing any structure or encroachment within 15 feet of the base of the concrete or earthen levees.

The city must do its part to address these issues by creating a clear plan of what will happen when and how the bills will be paid.

Citizens who have taken it upon themselves to encroach on the floodwall system must be held accountable and foot the bill for the removal of these violations.

Mayor Rich Blankenship has vowed to communicate with the public about the project’s needs and its progress. The newspaper certainly is willing to help with that by providing the space needed to consistently explain to citizens exactly what is going on.

It is certainly difficult to make a case that unfunded mandates are fair, but the various government entities have been willing to work with the city and other entities as long as tangible efforts have been made.

The clock is ticking and it is time to act.

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