Dec 5, 2008


Long ago a once prosperous city had a huge water demand to meet the need of its various industries. These industries varied from basic goods first designed in the 1800's, to high tech inventions servicing the world. Today, a minor league baseball stadium occupies the space that was needed for parking by thousands of workers making the first transistors; and then the first silicon chips needed for the electronic revolution. The production of these chips required millions of gallons of clean water, and Allentown met that demand. Today the industry is gone, and we are led by people with no memory of that era, or even why the water capacity was created. Although the industrial demand for water never returned, the growth of the surrounding municipalities has created a need for our over-capacity. For the last two years, the City and County have squabbled over who would pay for a pumping station. With the county threatening to drill additional well's and avoid buying more water from Allentown, the two jurisdictions seem to have finally overcome their differences. Allentown City Council has declined, at this point, to approve a request by the Administration for a water rate increase. Allentown taxpayers should not have to pay more for something we already have too much of.


Anonymous said...

The burbs need water, we need good schools. Maybe we can work out a deal???

If Allentown pays one nickel for that pipeline we are nothing short of a sucker city.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Suddenly I'm thirsty.

Michael Donovan said...

Ummm...Michael, I tried to post something earlier, but perhaps it did not go through.

I need to make a small clarification.

Mr. Hoffman proposed the rate increase, originally.

I offered the amendment, lowering the recommended increase by a few percentage points. I knew that the amendment would fail, but wanted the topic of having poor fund balances on the table.

We suffer from sweetheart deals contracted many, many years ago. I'm still trying to figure some of them out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:58pm, if it is cheaper for the county to drill new wells, what's the incentive to build the pipeline? There has to be some compromise reached on the costs.

It's not the county's (or the suburb's) sole responsibility to build the infrastructure to buy from Allentown.

I am glad a deal appears to have been worked out, and I hope they finalize it.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Is the LCA being forthcoming about their desire for future wells? What about Nestle's desire for said wells. They can bottle our water and sell it back to us. Which we'll need, as the water table is dropping.

Glenn said...

In regards to the water rates issue, a bit of history. In 1999 (the last time water rates were increased), there were drought conditions in the area.

Drought warnings were issued and it appears most residents did the responsible thing by complying. Water usage dropped. As a result the Water Department claimed revenue fell therefore in order to balance funds a rate increase was in order. Thus 'no good deed goes unpunished'.

Henceforth, after the drought ended and the residents returned to their previous high consumption levels, those rates never returned to their lower previous pre-drought levels.

It is my "OPINION": The so-called surplus funds the water company enjoyed, over the years eroded as costs increased to the point where we in 2008 are at zero point game. By the end of 2009 we've been told the "SURPLUS" will be no longer.

It just seems to me just selling more water to other areas (thus increasing revenue) should change that "zero point game", not?

With the Water Department it seems the H20 versus labor ratio is enhanced in the fact that other then equipment and construction costs, those of labor should not have to be increased. The water is FREE. The expenses are incurred in the conditioning.

Assuming increased future revenues, the question becomes, how should financing those initial costs effect present or future rates that should be steady after those?

FLUORIDATION: I still have my pet peeve about eliminating the Fluoridation (at least $40,000+ a year) to add this no longer needed detrimental chemical ands save a few bucks more! I could post a lot more information if anyone's interested, but I've been too windy already.

In 1998 it costs Allentown $345,000 for equipment and was $40,000 a year. In that year Lucent tech. estimated it would cost them $5 million to get it back out!

michael molovinsky said...

glenn, when writing this post, i envisioned a waterwar 2 sequence about fluoridation. i was also amazed that allentown would compromise lucent at that time with an unnecessary chemical, which at best, only benefits children for a few years, and which can be applied topically through toothpaste or mouthwash. the detrimental effects to the bone density of older citizens is well documented. now, in an era of bottled pure water, allentown still adds this poison. our compromised water quality is another consequence of political correctness. free feel to elaborate.

Glenn said...

Fluoridation: This was a controversy. In 1970 (when I was in radio broadcasting) I did several 15 minute "Public Affairs" interviews for and against. My conclusion (at the time) was the manufactures were more concerned about selling their product then the people of Allentown actually in favor of it.

The guy pushing it was Dr. Stephen Barrett (I suspect he received comps). He was the guy whom I interviewed several times on the issue at the time. It turns out the good Dr... well read for yourself (older articles)...

The history of Fluoridation in Allentown.

Michael, I do remember you posted on this issue in 2007...

Anonymous said...

Even if Allentown only pays half of the cost of the pipeline (est. $7 million) and we receive $400,000 a year if will be nearly 9 years before we see a nickel of profit. Then the Allentown authority will be stuck with maintaining the whole system while we are locked into the rates which we sell the LCA water.

Let the LCA drill there stupid wells.

Anonymous said...

If LCA reaches an acceptable deal with the City of Allentown for the purchase of drinking water, we will still need the new well supplies in Lower Macungie Township to meet your needs in 2009.