Does is make sense to expand the City of Hagerstown's sewage-treatment plant when Washington County's Conococheague plant is running at only 52 percent of capacity? That's the question state officials asked this past August when they suggested it might be time for a city/county partnership on water and sewer issues. Elected officials will soon get a look at how such a merger might be accomplished, and we urge that they and citizens look at such ideas with an open mind.
When suggestions for a utility merger first surfaced, we noted that city and county officials were inclined to distrust each other. For that reason, we recommended that they direct their respective staffs to meet and come up with some first small steps toward cooperation. If the small steps went well, and the two sides developed some trust in each other, we reasoned, then eventually they might agree on a full-blown merger.