Waitsfield water system users got great news this week when the town’s water commission dropped rates for the second year in a row.

Total annual fees for users have dropped from $880 to $628 (per ERU) in the last two years, thanks to more users and more gallons of water flowing through the system. An ERU is an equivalent residential unit and represents the estimated amount of water that a three-bedroom house uses.

This reduction demonstrates – once again – that those who planned the system got it right when they engineered the project. Additional users reduce the cost.

When this water system and an accompanying single pipe wastewater system for Waitsfield were first proposed, there were some elected officials who were stridently opposed to either piece of infrastructure. Some worried that these critical infrastructure pieces would negatively change the nature and character of Waitsfield.

“Waitsfield is a small town that wants to remain that way,” was uttered, to argue against infrastructure that would allow in-fill development in Irasville.

The water project passed, but the wastewater proposal was voted down, leaving the town with state and federal grant funds that had to be marshalled and organized to avoid having to pay them back. Those state and federal wastewater funds became the basis for a town revolving loan fund that was used very successfully to create a series of decentralized wastewater systems throughout the town.

Those decentralized wastewater systems are located at China Fun, Maclay Architects and beyond. One such decentralized wastewater system serves the Big Picture Theater and Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Coupled with extensive pretreatment systems that Lawson’s Finest constructed, that wastewater system with town water has allowed a thriving new business to open in The Valley.

Those who scoff at town government participation and intervention in economic development would do well to take a look at this prime example of what government participation has done for Waitsfield.

Those who fear growth in our small town would do well to look at the new jobs this infrastructure has made possible and at the economic benefit those jobs bring to our community as well as the economic benefit of visitors coming here because of new business.

It takes water, wastewater, proper zoning and the ability to think 50 to 70 years out.