By Madam Belle Write/Opinion
Would you buy a home served by the Robeline-Marthaville Water System? Customers of this system have gone with limited pressure or a complete lack of water for over three days now. The worst part is there’s no end in sight. Customers at a meeting Monday, December 16 said it looks like Santa will be bringing their children bottled water for Christmas. Quoted over $50,000 and around 6-8 weeks for a new pump installation the outlook is bleak to say the least.
Besides the health risks and public safety concerns generated by a water outage, I was curious to find out what else this emergency situation affected.
The dire situation the customers of this water system face shouldn’t be downplayed, but there is always a bigger picture to look at. It isn’t just the approximate 400-500 customers that are getting the short end of the stick. The real estate market has come to a screeching halt. Let’s face it. Who wants to buy a house when the water doesn’t work. Or comes out with dirt in it, as some customers claim.
No one in the Robeline or Marthaville areas will be able to so much as consider selling their home for as long as this situation continues. According to members of the board and the Fire Chief for FD #7, there’s no way to definitively gauge how long this situation may last.
Local real estate agent Rodrick McIntosh, who said a disaster like this is one of the worst things that could happen for the real estate market. It will negatively affect the property value.
“Who would want to buy a house in these areas without being able to have clean water,” he questioned. “Houses won’t sell until the problem is fixed.”
However, it seems that this problem stems from a lack of funding, which has caused the system to deteriorate over the past 30 years. If you don’t fund the maintenance of things, don’t expect them to last very long. But it’s water under the bridge now and it’s time to stop arguing over things that have happened in the past that you can’t change. It’s now time to step up to fund the infrastructure, in turn improving the quality of life and overall asset value.
Let’s think about property value. Let’s think about potential new industries, which would mean new jobs. Let’s think about building an infrastructure that will entice people to move here. It’s not just Robeline and Marthaville. It’s Natchitoches Parish and the parish can’t succeed unless all it’s parts are working properly.