I'm writing on behalf of the 21 percent of Crescent City residents who cannot read above the eighth grade level and the 60 percent that live at or below poverty level.
"We, the people" have spoken. We told you we want a sewer system that works and one that we can afford. Many opposition votes were disregarded and so we obtained beyond the necessary number of signatures to put this matter on the ballot.
The issues are simple:
The council is moving hastily. Why the big hurry? Is it because Jim Barnts broke ground on his development?
The conflict of interest is rampant and obvious. If our director of public works has a well-maintained, functioning sewer plant, there are not enough hook-ups for his 124-home project behind Wal-Mart. The part-time city attorney is also an attorney for developers and Stover Engineering just so happened to engineer Mr. Barnts' project. How is it that we get over 10 bids for dock repairs and the council expects the citizens to believe only one company wanted a multimillion dollar sewer plant project? Brookings recently revamped their system for $19 million; who did they hire?
Stover Engineering had a hard enough time getting drainage on Elk Valley Road and we expect them to accomplish a project like none other that they have done before. Unbelievable. Stover Engineering has no experience with a project like this and the city council thinks this is in our best interest as a community? The City Council is a representative for the citizens, not big money interest and developers. Let them pay for the expansion.
The plant currently processes the usual 1.2 million flow until the rain comes. The rain water increases the flow to 7.8 million gallons per day and then there is a problem. The rain is leaking into the outlying pipes and overrunning the system. If we fix the pipes, the developers will not get their expansion.
The California Constitution is very clear ... current rate payers are not responsible for expansion. We need sleeves inserted into key locations and this massive rainwater overflow would be corrected. But wait ... Stover Engineering said it would be over $60 million dollars to correct the pipe problem so the sewer plant is cheaper. The pipe problem is not going to go away. It looks like Stover may be looking forward to more no-competition contracts, since we are so remote no other companies are interested.
Back to the poverty problem and how the city council expects these truly poor people to foot the bill. There is no bill to foot. We will go bankrupt if the citizens default on the loan. Let us keep in mind the loan is really $62.8 million after interest, which equates to approximately $45,000 per city user. No one on the city council suggested maybe increasing permit fees.
It all stinks, no pun intended.