What Are The Answers?
So the Mayor and a few of his hand-picked associates are going to fly to Chicago now (they decided to forget about Washington) and try to get the EPA to let up on the Sewer Credits lock-down. I just wonder what kind of reception they will get.
What will they answer with when they are asked if the projects they promised to fix are done? "..duh, no, not yet."
What will they answer when they are asked if we are still having overflows with less than 1" of rain? ".....duh, yeah, we think so, but there was sabatoge!" (wrong)
What will they answer when they are asked if the mandated $270K annual repairs have been done in the past 3 years? "....duh, no, we don't know where the money went."
What kind of answer do you think they will get from the EPA? Because the problems don't stop here, with just these few examples. There's much, much more.
What will they produce when the Utility Regulatory Commission asks to see the budgets, past and present, of the Sewer Department before they are granted permission for a rate increase? What about an audit for the past year of the Sewer Department operations? Answer: There isn't one. Couldn't be done.
Somehow they got it all mixed up with Sanitation, Drainage, Secretary salaries, loans to the General Fund, and God knows what else... but, they have no idea where the Sewer Fund actually stands on its own.
What are they going to say when asked how they have spent over $100 million over the last 15 years on a system that still doesn't work?
How are they going to explain all the fringe development that has occurred recently while we've been under a sewer credit freeze?
We're telling you, it just doesn't look too good, and that's a real shame. Because until this matter is resolved, to the satisfaction of the Federal authorities, New Albany will remain a ghost town and economic development will be impossible.
They have had more than enough time, more than enough money, but not enough smarts to do things the way they were told to do them by the EPA.
A responsible City government doesn't simply do as they please and think they don't owe anyone any explinations as this administration has done repeatedly.
Now, they are going to try to assess another sewer rate hike on us. Only, this time, they have a lot of explaining to do. We are tired, and broke, from paying for their mistakes. We want answers.
We must demand accountabilty, and we deserve to have a City Administration that has the best interests of New Albany at heart, and will do what it takes to get this City back on solid ground. Even if it means a spending freze.
Developing more fees and higher rates for the public is not an acceptable solution.
For more interesting information on the sewer issue we've been discussing for some time now, check out Maury Goldbergs blog: www.newalbanytoday.blogspot.com
Or, you can use the link on the front page of this blog.
Another interesting tidbit of information, in case you haven't already heard; The Mayor intends to bring sewer billing back in-house, and we are told this will be done using the money they will make off the stormwater fees. Word is our contract with Indiana-American expires soon (we can provide dates of Sewer Board minutes with discussions of where the billing office will be located).
However, none of this has been discussed with the City Council mmembers, except for those who sit on the sewer board.
We would like to see the reasoning behind this decision, and if or why they believe this will be a better way of doing things. Again, what are the answers?