As most skillful politicians do, Mayor Kevin Smith did an end run around the Anderson City Council on Monday. Simply, he outsmarted them.

By researching the law, the administration discovered that the Board of Public Works has complete authority over the water department. State law gives power of electrical utilities to city councils.

Thus, the Board of Works voted Monday to move ahead with a plan to implement most of the automation of water meter reading. While meter reading does put a human face on a city service, its time has come and gone. The thought of spending taxpayers’ money to pay 11 full-time city employees to read numbers is inefficient. It’s long past time government got more efficient. Kudos to the administration.

We (the taxpayers) made the investment in the city’s fiber optic network, darn it, let’s use it.

Our support of the board’s heavy-handedness comes in part from the fact that those 11 employees will remain in city employ. It’s pretty hard to argue against that. Will they be making the same wages? We don’t know. Like the rest of the world, if those workers have skills that are valuable, they don’t have anything to worry about. If they don’t, Ivy Tech Community College is enrolling students now. In the interest of political peace, we would prefer that the administration at least give the city council a chance to move into the 21st century and approve automation of the electric meters, too. We hope the council does so, at this point.

As distasteful as such a forced move might be for council members (especially the Democrats), all 58,000 Anderson residents will thank you the next time the power goes out. When the automated system maps out which areas, which houses, are without power, the cost of the system will become politically priceless. Help will be on the way without residents having to ask for it.

Like all good city services, they will just come to expect it. Now that’s good, efficient government.

This Week's Circulars