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Our Opinion: Political factions hurt

October 02, 2001

The Westmorland City Council is facing a difficult decision on whether to raise water rates.

It's never an easy decision because it means taxing city residents when most cannot afford to pay more. It is a decision that divides councils.

That is what appears to be happening to the Westmorland City Council. Members are taking sides, and even worse, they seem to be forming factions over the issue.

During a recent council meeting, those who are supposed to work together in leading the city didn't act like good city leaders. This is when the council should be working together to either find ways to cut costs or share with the public why a water rate increase is necessary.


There is nothing wrong with council members having different points of view. It happens all the time. However, Westmorland council members seem to be setting up barriers that will prevent them from working with each other.

If they stay behind those barriers, they will not listen to each others' ideas and serve the best interests of residents.

City Councilman John Makin may have some ideas that could prevent a water rate increase. However, he has clearly gone on the attack and that is no way to get across his point. What he has done is put Mayor Henry Halcon on the defensive, and Halcon is responding angrily. That is no way to solve the dilemma the city finds itself in.

While it is natural for council members to have different ideas, they have to be willing to listen to each other and do what is best for the city. We are not sure the Westmorland council in its present state can do what is best for the city and its people.

The council members have to start showing they can work together, talk together and listen to each other. City residents deserve that from the council. City residents need to know that political squabbling is not going to impair the ability of city officials to do their job.

The Westmorland council is made up of some good people who care about the city. The council has shown what it can do when it stands together. The fact the city will have its own new water and wastewater plants is a sign of that.

It is time for such leadership to resurface in Westmorland.

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