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Upsides & Downsides

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In politics, the two sides in a debate take the same information and make it look as good or as bad as possible in an effort to convince others that only their view is right.

When considering the growing debt held by the Carroll County Public Service Authority, there's certainly room for debate.

The upsides include possible economic development, growth and jobs. The only downside appear to be the cost.

There has been general agreement over the years that the Interstate 77 interchanges held the most promise for the future. After all, they have real estate's coveted "location, location, location" criteria going for them.

Unfortunately, three of the exits suffered long delays in the necessary preparations for that development. The exits at Lambsburg, Fancy Gap and Wildwood didn't have the necessary water and sewer infrastructure to spur that growth.

So, county officials have taken steps to attract more of the traffic off the interstate by investing in infrastructure — not only for the exits, but also for most of the county in the case of the regional water project to tap the New River for Carroll's sustainable water source.

Last year, the Carroll PSA held about $7.3 million in debt for 10 existing projects. But that debt has grown by $11.3 million with the addition of loans needed for Woodlawn and Wildwood sewer, the regional water project and the infrastructure in Lambsburg to open that exit for commerce. It now

The concept of promoting development at the interstate is a sound one — the variety of businesses at Exit 14 is proof positive that an interchange is profitable.

Without a doubt, the concept to build out the county with water and sewer infrastructure has a price tag associated with it.

Despite the fact that Carroll has gotten several grants, the loans have added up, too. Granted, the loans have a low interest rate over a long term, which makes them more affordable. County officials say growth would generate revenue to cover the principle and interest.

The loans are probably good fodder for debate. There are bound to be citizens that see the infrastructure spending as a necessary investment for the future of Carroll — especially for the water project, as county wells fail.

The utility projects represent a change from the status quo, and change always meets resistance.