Objective polling

Published 10:01 pm Monday, August 17, 2015

To the editor:

A poll is only as good as the questions asked and the integrity in the way it was conducted. I believe the recent TDB on-line poll on the ICWD contract issue, although well meaning, has failed on both points. The question asked, “was the PC BOC proceeding on the ICWD contract in the best interests of PC and its citizens.” I believe this question is moot and doesn’t get to the real issues at hand.

Anyone with any common sense would have to agree that taking steps to plan for a potential drought situation is a good thing. Agreeing with how the BOC is handling the situation is a matter of personal perception and doesn’t address specific problems in the process that are a cause for concern.

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There are at least two questions I consider to more direct toward finding out what is most important to arriving at a good contract and what is in the best interests of all county residents.

First question; do you feel the BOC should get outside expert counsel on the technical contents of the contract? I’m not talking about contract negotiations skills but expert opinion on the environmental issues and monetary value of our water resources including maintenance/upkeep of same.

Second question: do you think that the incorporated municipalities within the county should be partners with the county on this endeavor. I know this is a politically touchy question since many past endeavors to get the municipalities to agree on partnering with the county on shared water agreements have failed. But it may be more important in the long term for all concerned parties to understand where their leaders stand on a drought fall back plan .

My suggestion is that rather than have an online poll or a man on the street straw poll, let’s put these questions on the next election ballot and see what each voting citizen has to say. We will not only know what the county voters feel is important but we will also find out how the voters in each municipality feel about how their “private” water source is being managed to handle possible draught situations. Maybe the results will make all our leaders to take a good look at what may be in the best interest for everyone.

Let’s face it, each government entity within our county borders have been acting in what they think is in the best interests for their constituents. Maybe it’s about time the folks were given a chance to have a say in the matter. Personally I think it doesn’t make sense to have four separately managed water systems in our county, especially when it comes to drought protection.

Since we have about seven years on our existing contract with ICWD we have ample time to get more information so our leaders can make a more responsible decision and our citizens will feel more confident about the process. I just don’t see what the big rush is to get this contract done so quickly. If the BOC is afraid that ICWD will walk away from the deal if we don’t act quickly, then the ICWD probably weren’t really interested unless they got a “super deal.” Let’ face it, the main reason ICWD is interested in partnering with us is our water supply, everything else is business as usual.

I was disappointed to hear that the BOC is sending the amended contract to ICWD for a final review. I think that action is tantamount to throwing in the towel.

And finally, I just don’t see the need to rush into making a decision now on what may be the most important decision for Polk County in the past 20 years.

Karl Kachadoorian

Tryon, N.C.