On Monday night, Napoleon City Council will consider moving forward on legislation that would nix an idea which initially appeared to be a good one -- receiving water service from Defiance via a water line. The proposal surfaced about nine months ago as Napoleon officials were deciding what to do about their 47-year-old water plant.
Receiving water from Defiance, whose plant normally doesn't use even half its daily refining capacity, was one of the options for addressing the plant's future. But a Napoleon City Council committee recommended last week that this alternative not be pursued. Instead, Napoleon's council plans to move forward on the legwork for a new water plant.
The decision is disappointing to Defiance officials who believe a water line between the two communities is the logical option. Indeed, building a new plant figures to cost Napoleon $18.4 million while the water line would have cost much less.
Too, regionalization of local services will become more and more important in the current economic climate, and the Defiance-Napoleon water line idea fits that trend.
In addition, a water line along U.S. 24 -- if the state would have allowed that -- could have boosted prospects for economic development along it, especially with the new four-lane road between New Haven, Ind. and Maumee opening completely last week following 61⁄2 years of construction.
But Napoleon's decision is certainly understandable.
One factor was the quality of water that Defiance would provide. Unfortunately, Defiance's water quality has had a bad reputation for many years, but the taste/odor issue associated with it has not been a problem in Napoleon which also uses the Maumee River as its raw water source.
A new plant also keeps Napoleon abreast of the latest technology, which is not an insignificant consideration given EPA's propensity for ever-tightening regulations where water and sewer regulations are concerned. Though the Defiance option would be cheaper, Napoleon likely would have had to share costs for any future upgrades or improvements to the Defiance plant and system.
Still, this represents a missed opportunity for Defiance, and perhaps others. Only time will tell whether it was the better choice.