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From our archives: Sewer woes threatened Sterling’s economy

What we thought: 50 years ago

Published: Monday, March 18, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following editorial appeared in the Gazette on March 20, 1963.

The truth will

always prevail

We have a growing suspicion Sterling residents are fast realizing that the truth will always prevail. We refer in this instance to the facts that have appeared in the Daily Gazette regarding the matter of adequate sewage treatment.

Take, for instance, the federal grant of $578,700. The public was told that if the citizens did not support the bond issue, the grant would be withdrawn.

The political opponents of the bond issue and others assured the citizens that we would not lose this money.

We lost it!

Then those same people were just as enthusiastic in their claims that we would get another grant anytime.

In a story in Tuesday’s Gazette, the Sanitary Water Board stated that Sterling could apply in 1964, but there was no assurance another grant would be forthcoming.

The Gazette has stated several times that Springfield had said that if we did not take care of the water pollution, no further sewer extensions would be permitted, and that the city could stop issuing permits for new sewer connections. These two statements were verified in Tuesday’s Gazette story.

In fact, every statement that has been carried in the Gazette regarding the trouble Sterling could expect if we failed to cooperate with the state, has been shown to have been the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

In the face of these facts, one would wonder why those new political aspirants, and some old ones, continue to claim that these things are not true, when the opposite is true.

It is true, those persons have fooled the public probably to the greatest extent that has ever happened in Sterling. Now that all of these statements have been shown to be correct as printed in the Gazette at various times, do those candidates believe they can continue to fool the public? We doubt this, we most certainly do.

To date, due to the efforts of those candidates and some others, residents of Sterling have lost a grant of $587,700, which has gone down the sewer.

Indications are that a second grant, which is has been claimed we can get anytime, likewise is lost to us.

We stand a good chance of stopping home building by having permits for sewer service stopped. If this happens – and it is likely to – how many thousands of dollars will be lost in the building industry?

The stopping of any sewer extensions also cannot only be a serious aggravation but an expensive one as well.

If those candidates who have distorted these facts, hoping such distortion would be to their advantage, are unreliable in these things, stop and reason how unreliable they would be if they were actually running the affairs of this city.

Sterling has always enjoyed an enviable reputation as a city of character, integrity and high principles. The position in which those candidates have placed Sterling the past few weeks, by openly defying the proper requests of the Illinois State Sanitary Board, has damaged its prestige beyond financial description. The damage that has been done cannot be repaired for years to come.

The million dollars that is talked about as a saving to our city, is about as substantial as those claims that have been made, and which this editorial has shown were 100 percent wrong.

And believe it or not, it is likely to be found that when our sewage problem is solved, it will be along the lines as already proposed by the present Sterling City Council.

And if so, what a pretty penny this election folly has cost us.

If some of our candidates and citizens want to thumb their noses at the state of Illinois – go to it. But in so doing, be prepared to pay the piper – and the price will come high, that’s for sure.

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