A new water treatment plant and distribution system upgrades for the city of Elkins have been in the works for a number of years now. Along the way, various problems - including those of a financial nature - have cropped up and resulted in delay after delay.
Last week, city officials said they have an idea for saving "a considerable amount of money" on the project. The plan calls for seeking funds from the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Council. This would replace the $28 million the city was awarded in 2008 from the USDA Rural Utility Service. Elkins Operations Manager Bob Pingley said if the new funding option is put into place, it would not change the timeline for completion of the project. It may, however, change some of the deadlines.
These upgrades to the city's water system are greatly needed, and putting them in place while saving taxpayers' money is the responsible approach. However, it seems the city has a few more hoops to jump through before possibly obtaining this new funding, and that obviously will take some time.
In the past, we've seen a pattern with other projects - the cost of materials tends to increase while public officials finalize their plans. We hope that doesn't result in this case.