Maura Ransom: HSS voters should avoid the ‘rumor mill’
May 17, 2012
To the Editor:
I am writing in regard to the upcoming recall election on Mayor Deputy of Hot Sulphur Springs.
For years the town of Hot Sulphur was run not by the board of trustees, but by the manager of the water and sewer system. Not only did he sit in on the board meetings and pretty much run them, he also was never questioned in regard to what condition the system was in or what needed to be done with it.
New members were appointed to the board and refused to be bullied by this gentleman, and it was found that very few if any capital improvements were made for years. The town was out of compliance regarding many areas of the system. He finally put his resignation in and left the town, leaving a water system so bad the town itself was unable to incur the astronomical amount of money required to become compliant.
He was also the one who selected and was in charge of the installation of a sewer system that has never worked properly.
That is pretty much how the Town got to where we are today.
All of this was inherited by the town trustees and then-appointed Mayor Hershal Deputy. None of these positions are compensated. Instead of ignoring the situation, the mayor called state and federal agencies to see if there was any help on what should be done and if any funds were available in grants and low-interest loans to cover the cost of what needed to be accomplished to ensure the health and safety of the residents in the town. Board members were intelligent enough to know they were in over their heads on figuring this all out and hired consultants that specialize in this area of expertise.
I might also add that a mill levy failed, which would have cost the taxpayers about $17 a month in additional property taxes to avoid raising the water rates. Even after board members tried to educate the town residents, the mill levy failed and the board was forced to increase the water and sewer rates substantially.
I have witnessed first-hand the hours of uncompensated work that Mayor Deputy puts into this town. I am sure the meetings he had to attend alone took all his vacation time. In addition, there have been countless hours spent on the phone or speaking in person, all to ensure the residents have safe drinking water. All without any complaint and with the support of his wife who also has to endure the phone calls and the time her husband spends away from his family life to attend to the needs of the town.
I have told Hershal many times that as a friend my advice would be to quit, but as a citizen I hope he would not listen to me and hang in there.
So I ask you, have you bothered to find out the facts on this recall or are you just listening to the rumor mill that is growing due to unfounded accusations. When you signed the petition to have Mayor Deputy recalled, did you read the allegations or did you talk about water rates?
Hot Sulphur Springs