Feb 28, 2013

Water War Continues

Although the people's ballot initiative against the water lease is off the table, the water war continues. In order for the Lehigh County Authority, aka LCA, to bid on the Allentown lease, their charter must be extended by the County Commissioners. Yesterday, an editorial by Lisa Scheller, outlined the conservative slate's attitude about the lease. They believe that a private company would best suit the needs of county residents, otherwise, county residents would be subsidizing Allentown's pension dilemma through higher rates. Although her points are well taken. because LCA purchases water and sewage service from allentown, down the long road of a fifty year lease, all citizens of Lehigh County could be at the mercy of a private company. Putting aside Allentown's pension situation, I think that in the long run it would better serve county residents if this asset is under local control. Although a private company would have to honor long term contracts that exist between Allentown and LCA, they will pass along the capital improvements, one way or another.  All LCA water is looped through the filtration plant in Allentown, regardless of where it originates. LCA has not been the perfect steward of water.  Rob Hamill, who has guest posted on this blog, blames them for fostering over development in Lower Macungie, and sewage woes along the Little Lehigh. Never the less, valley residents will have more control and accountability from the local entity LCA, than some multi-national corporate conglomerate headquartered in Europe.

9 comments:

Bill said...

Higher water rates for the region means fewer jobs. Manufacturing companies who use water will get a significant disincentive to stay or relocate in our region. Goodbye jobs. I suspect that ideology is driving this view by the county commissioners. I wish people would wake up, this is a bad deal for the whole region. Privatization of our public water supply will hurt everyone beyond those few who will cash in on it.

Thanks for your continued coverage on this issue.

Anonymous said...

The neighborhood groups succeeded in 1998. Dan and his group have not been a success. That speaks for itself. Pray to God the LC a gets the lease.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:05, actually it does not speak for itself. in 1998, city council eventually did pass a version of the rental inspection bill, before the election, preventing the neighborhood version of the law from taking effect. the main difference between 1998 and now is that in 1998 the administration supported the citizen's initiative, while this time they opposed it.

Anonymous said...

Bill has a point. Lehigh County has an advantage for food and drink manufacturing and one of those advantages is very competitively priced water and sewage treatment.





Anonymous said...

What happens if/when Lehigh County is not the highest bidder?

Anonymous said...

This is a tough call either way, the lynch pin being the projected unfunded municipal retirement funds. Sooner or later the piper will have to be paid.

So the question is which entity has the ability contribute the most to that endeavor.

My heart says keep it with the city, but my brain says let me see all the numbers before making a choice. Ted Yost

michael molovinsky said...

ted, i wouldn't base it strictly on the bid number, the long tern interests of the residents is more important; especially if the city misappropriates some of the funds for other purposes other than the pension fund.

Bill said...

What would happen if the city went Bankrupt? Could we get out of the Afflerbach and then City Council pension debacle? Seem like it may be the best deal on the table for the citizens who had this foisted upon them.

Rob Hamill said...

There are no ramifications for making the wrong moves for LCA, so they can drive growth on steroids and not pay the price. The mopes who are their customers are on the hook for their Ceasarian follies.. At the very least we need political responsibility overseeing the LCA, at the most, we need a private company who is answerable to the unchanging laws of econimics and customer service, you know, like the way America has been built to be the greatest country in the world.