Crisis Averted

Somebody, somewhere dodged a bullet. Maybe two.

For customers of Winnsboro Water living in Blythewood facing a rate hike, that may seem inaccurate. Or insignificant, at best. After all, a rate hike is a rate hike, and the difference between the early reports of 26 percent versus the 22 percent now coming from the Town of Winnsboro is admittedly small.

But it is something, nonetheless.

The larger bullet may be the near fatality of the overall deal between Winnsboro and Columbia to bring water to Blythewood, which was only narrowly averted late last week thanks to some last-minute negotiations between the town managers of Winnsboro and the Capital City.

Engineers with the City of Columbia notified Winnsboro last week that a pumping station being built to support the flow of water into Blythewood would have to be built to much higher specifications than originally expected; specifications higher, even, than had been approved by the Department of Health and Environmental Control. The Capital City, after all, has high standards for its water, and good for them. The bad news is that the higher specs would have cost the Town of Winnsboro four times what the original agreement called for. For a town with a budget as tight as that of Winnsboro, that would have been a deal breaker.

That is not to say that the pumping station would not have been built, or that water would not have flowed through the Town of Blythewood right on schedule. What it would have meant is that it would have done so on Columbia’s terms. And those terms could have made 22 percent seem like chicken feed five years from now.

So raise a glass – a glass of cool, clear drinking water – to cooler heads and prudent negotiators. For now, at least, the deal is still on.