Michael Moore announced on Wednesday that he is stepping down as chair and member of the water and sewer committee — a committee formed about two years ago after the Effingham Chamber of Commerce’s annual retreat.
For the past year, they had been trying to coordinate a collaboration of all the municipalities and county to agree on hiring an engineer to do a feasibility study for water and sewer.
The study was going to cost $75,000 to be divided equally among the four, which would be $18,750. Effingham County and Springfield were on board. Guyton was in agreement with the idea; however, Alderman Brenda Lovett told the group that Guyton didn’t have the money. Rincon was said to be reluctant to participate.
Since the group’s inception, they have focused primarily on fostering communication and finding ways for the municipalities, county and local businesses to work together on water and sewer issues affecting everyone in the area. Moore said that there comes a point when you have to look at the purpose of the committee and ask if there is still a reason to move forward if everyone is not on board.
“I’m not trying to put a negative spin on it,” Moore told the group after Crawley, county engineer Steve Liotta and Georgia Power and Chamber rep Stan Sparks voiced their reasons for continuing the committee.
“It will be a real shame to completely disband and lose all the communication,” said Liotta. “I thought there were lots of benefits.”
Crawley felt the same way.
“The committee has progressed, and it’s great,” said Crawley, referring to an example of the deal with Springfield and the Effingham Industrial Development Authority.
Sparks said there is another very important reason for the group to remain intact: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will be seeking regional water council nominations beginning in mid-July.
The qualifications for the nominees will be high, said Liotta, who believes they will be looking for “people with very serious qualifications.”
“The county and cities need to have representatives on the committee,” said Sparks. “But it needs to be the right one or two.”
The group agreed. They discussed the idea of presenting the issue as an agenda item for this year’s retreat. In the meantime, they are waiting for the lieutenant governor’s office to send out the qualifications.
The committee did not decide on a new chair. Instead, they will discuss the qualifications and decide on new chair during their July 16 meeting — a meeting without Moore.
“It’s time for a new face and a new idea…just time for a change for the betterment of the whole business,” Moore said.
He clarified however, that he still cared about the committee and it’s purpose.
“I still think it’s a great thing to do,” he said.