As the Wichita City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to pay $1.7 million to CH2M Hill to assess the infrastructure needs of the city’s water and sewer systems, council members reassured concerned citizens it didn’t mean privatization would be next. That sounded a lot like a promise – one certain to be recalled in 2017, when the process might shift from evaluation to repair and replacement. As council member Lavonta Williams said, “we’ve got to find a way to address the infrastructure needs and stop putting an undue amount of burden on our citizens who have to pay for their water,” so it makes sense to consult experts for this huge item on the city’s to-do list. But the outcry at this early stage makes it essential that city leaders keep their minds open and the public informed. – Rhonda Holman
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