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Saturday
February 04th, 2023
L&T Opinions Page

LETTER TO THE EDITOR, Charles Craig, Liberal

 

EDITOR’S NOTE — This is a letter written by Charles Craig before he died in October. His wife Starley found it and sent it in.

 

Let’s talk about water and Liberal. When I was on the city commission, National Beef’s water wells failed. At the same time, Liberal Country Club’s water rights expired due to forgetful managements.

We solved these problems with the usual aplomb — we gave National Beef access to Liberal’s water free. I cannot imagine what the water bill would be even at commercial rates if they paid for the water. They used the time to drill their own wells which just went dry. At the time, Liberal knew they would have to put in a new water treatment plant, partially because we guaranteed we would handle the wastewater from the beef plant through our system.

National Beef said they would help with the building of our new treatment plant. That did not happen. They built their own. This is partially why our rates are so high.

Liberal Country Club asked the city for a break on the commercial rate for water. I paid a $600 water bill and sat down and figured my bill would be $20 or so if I was paying the same rate as the Country Club.

This is another example of why we have problems. I know both these examples are old hat and maybe have bee solved, but I bet many other examples of special treatment can be found.

When Conestoga was being built, I went to the meeting — just for information. While some were asking about water use, a prominent realtor told me Liberal had “unlimited water.”

That mind set is disastrous.

What is the city going to do about the water cost and availability? I know you don’t have any control over the weather and Liberal is in a desert, but is there anything in the works?

If National Beef is dry, is the city planning on letting them “borrow” water from us or not?

One of the reasons Liberal looks so bad is that water for trees and plants is prohibitively expensive. I’d like to see what’s in the works.

EDITOR’S REPLY — There was a negotiated rate for water for National Beef, and it was extensively reported in the Leader & Times. National Beef has always paid a fee for the water they use.

As far as the water treatment plant, there were two plans, a joint plant between the city and National Beef, and two independent plants. The City of Liberal chose two independent plants. 

Water rates have increased recently to pay for the treatment plant and to maintain the system. By law, the city cannot profit from providing water, and all revenues must be spent on the labor and infrastructure needed to provide water.

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