Think of it as making the best of a bad situation.
A very bad situation.
An over-zealous effort by the Hosier administration to attract a new industry with local connections misfired, leaving the city of Portland with a debt of about $735,000 owed to the state of Indiana.
One could argue all day and all night about whether the money lent to Geesaman Industries should have been secured with better guarantees or liens.
But the fact is, when the business model didn’t work the city was on the hook for money lent through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, better known as OCRA.
Hindsight, of course, is easy.
The real challenge was figuring out how to move forward after the Geesaman fiasco.
The good news is a manageable path forward seems to have been worked out.
OCRA gets most of the credit for this. The state agency could have simply told Portland, “Tough, deal with it.”
Instead, OCRA has stepped up and tried to help chart a solution.
It won’t be cheap. But it won’t be money wasted either.
As it stands, the city will plow an equivalent amount of money owed to OCRA — about $735,000 — into a project that will reduce the city’s occasional combined sewer overflows. That’s a goal well within OCRA’s purview and is something every rural community in America is trying to accomplish.
Will it perfectly erase the dollars lost on the Geesaman project? No.
Will it steer the city toward addressing a long-standing environmental problem? Yes.
And, in doing so, it might just save the state of Indiana a few bucks in the long run.
At the very least, it makes the best of a bad situation. — J.R.