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Glad to see progress on water-sewer issue

Last week, Alpena and Alpena Township released a joint statement saying the governing boards of both communities believe a water authority is the best option to end a years-long court battle over water and sewer rates and serve residents long-term.

The two sides have fought in court for eight years. The township buys water and sewer services from the city and balked over a proposed rate increase years ago, with officials then saying the city should treat the township as a wholesale customer.

The recent statement did not promise an imminent agreement, saying the governing boards want public comment they haven’t been able to get because of crowd restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, officials have continued behind-the-scenes dialogue and research, the statement said.

We’re glad to see talks progressing in an apparently amiable and productive manner. Having Alpena County’s two largest communities at odds with one another only hurts opportunities for growth and collaboration.

We’re also glad to hear officials say they don’t want to get too far without hearing from the public, first. Water and sewer services — and pocketbooks — for thousands of residents are at stake, and the public deserves to have a say in the plan before it’s finalized.

We’ll keep a close eye on talks as they continue, but, so far, we see good things, making us cautiously optimistic the page may soon turn on this sad chapter of Northeast Michigan history.

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