Washington County Commissioner Jim Wade, already in hot water over his vote to decertify the county road workers' union, this week proposed a 15-cent property tax increase. That's about as likely as a leprechaun solving the county's water/sewer debt crisis by carrying a pot of gold into the county courthouse, but give Wade credit for having the guts to confront the real issue.
Without some additional revenue, the county would have to cut its sewer-fee subsidy, which would mean another rate hike. It would also mean cutting back on capital projects and probably holding the school system to the amount spent last year.
It is time to tell some hard truths, and while we do not always agree with Wade, he's facing this issue, which is as follows:
A previous board of commissioners built the Conococheague sewer-treatment plan in advance of demand, then failed to quickly market it to companies that might have made it a break-even operation. Sewer rates were held down when they should have been raised, and the debt began to pile up.