Friday, February 25, 2005
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
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