Editorial: Smoothing the waters

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The residents of Matika Village and Circle Drive may have felt powerless when they learned their landlord had failed to pay the water bill for several months. Fortunately, the landlord was not the only person looking out for them.
This is a case of government doing the right thing. On paper, the city of Salisbury had plenty of reason to turn off the water to Tim Smithís mobile home parks. He was far behind on the bill, even though he had continued to collect rent and assure tenants that everything was OK. After several unfruitful attempts to work things out with Smith, the city went public with the situation and ultimately worked out a solution with the county. Since Smith is also behind on his property taxes, the county has seized the tenantsí rent payments and is using a portion to pay the water bills.
Is Tim Smithís predicament a sign of these recessionary times, a case of bad business judgment or both? We donít know. But certainly no one can blame the tenants for this lapse; they appear to have held up their end of the deal, regardless of current economic conditions. As one resident said through an interpreter, ěWe Spanish people, we pay.î
Local government looked out for the renters ó the ultimate little guys who might be voiceless in the political scheme of things. But the city and county worked on their behalf, avoiding what could have led to unhealthy living conditions and evictions. That would have helped no one. Kudos to the city and county for working together to find this solution.