Privatization an appalling idea

It appalls me that the Sunnyside City Council is going to give a contract to Veolia Water to run our city water and sewer systems. At the Feb. 22 council meeting, City Manager Bob Stockwell said that Veolia brought with them vast experience and knowledge and this was the main reason for contracting with them, that this knowledge and experience is something we don't have and would be difficult to get.

I find it interesting that Veolia posted the project manager's position on Feb. 16 before the contract was even approved. I am appalled that the advertisement seeks an individual who has a high school diploma and five years experience. If they have all this expertise on staff and that's the main reason for this, and they are advertising for someone with this minimum level of experience and education, than I feel we getting sold a bill of goods that's nothing short of fraud.

The city manager will not look at alternative ways to make this work, such as shifting personnel after retirement and not filling vacant positions. He says we don't have the training and it would be too difficult to get qualified people to run the plant. It doesn't look too hard to Veolia, they just put an advertisement out there for someone under-qualified, not licensed and there you go, they have a project manager. If this is how they start a $1.2 million contract, folks, you better hold on to your hat. The ride will only get worse.

I called many cities that Veolia contracts with. There is only a handful of them in the Western United States that contract out water and sewer system care. Most of the contracts Veolia has are for the operation of the waste treatment plants only, and do not extend past the plant. In other words, the cities maintain all the main lines, pump stations, etc. Many of the cities I spoke with said Veolia could not compete with the water system.

So, why are we doing this? What the city council is doing is going to affect this city for the next 20 years.

Not just us, but generations to come. Stop and think about what you are doing, and for what reason.

The people will speak next November.

/s/ Bruce Epps, Sunnyside

No to privatization

About our water problem—what is stopping this new company from having the same problems we already have?

You know this company won't care who you are. If they have a problem, the rates will go in their favor, regardless of the price.

We have been able to stay with our system until now. Why can't we go along with what the city has to do to keep operating the water and sewer systems? I would rather give the money to the city than to a company from a foreign country.

I have lived in Sunnyside for 70 years and the citizens have always went along with what the city needed. We won't let our city go down the drain. If the city asks, we give.

/s/ John Greenhalgh, Sunnyside


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