My, My, My – How Opinions Change

June 14, 2006

I've read with the interest the viewpoints against the Community Maritime Park in the daily newspaper, especially the one by retiree and neighboring Port Royal resident Bill Smart.

Smart opens his opinion piece with, "The top priority today for the City of Pensacola is eliminating the Main Street Wastewater Treatment Plant." He later states "Pensacola must not take on any other major project until the remaining $100 million needed is guaranteed and secured."

Four years ago, Smart – along with others who make up the core of Save Our City- argued against this paper's position that the Main Street Sewage Treatment Plant should be relocated. Smart saw no risk in keeping the plant downtown and believed it was foolish to move it.

Had Smart and others joined us in pressuring ECUA to move the plant back then, we could have saved hundreds of millions in dollars in construction costs and interest payments. But hindsight is always 20-20.

The other ironic point is that Smart and others want the City of Pensacola to pay for the relocation of the plant even though the facility is owned and operated by the ECUA. The ECUA receives all revenue from the current plant and from any future plants. ECUA will not repay the City for its contribution.

The financial responsibility for relocating the Main Street Sewage Treatment Plant falls on ECUA, not the City or Escambia County. SOC is upset that the Pensacola Pelican may make money off the new baseball park, but aren't upset the ECUA will make millions off the new plant and not share any of it with the City.

It's great for the federal and state governments – who have block grants for such projects – to contribute, but it isn't proper for the city and county to pay for the new plant.

Otherwise, city residents will be bearing an unfair burden – paying for it three ways: 1)as a ECUA customer in the rate increases, 2) County taxpayer and 3) City taxpayer.

I'm surprised that fiscal conservatives like Mr. Smart and SOC founders would let ECUA off the hook so easily.

The real point is they just don't want the Community Maritime Park. If they didn't use the Main St. Plant as an excuse, then they would come up with another.

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5 Responses to “My, My, My – How Opinions Change”


  1. Parks are essential for a vibrant community to exist in a city or town.

    CK


  2. I agree – the Community Maritime Park has a nice blend of uses and is very public and pedistrian friendly.

  3. Courtney Says:

    I disagree with your comment that the cost of relocating the plant falls soleley on ECUA.

    First, the City of Pensacola built and then managed the plant for 45 years before turning operations over to ECUA. During that time they should have had the foresight to set aside money towards future capital improvements and possible relocation. The additional capital could could been financed by ECUA.

    Second, I disagree with your comment that the fed and state should pay for the plant. Next time you are talking to one of your friends or family members out of town/state ask them the following:

    Hi, ________ can you let me have some money to help me move into a new apt/house? I just bought a new car and I can’t afford to pay the movers to take my stuff across town.

    Then, tell them you are bearing an unfair burden.

    This is exactly what we are doing. Asking taxpayers in our state and across the U.S. to help us relocate our wastewater treatment plant because we don’t want to use the money that we are using to build the park across the street from the plant.

    I think the Russians tried this form of economics back in the ’80’s and it didn’t work out so well.

  4. routzen Says:

    Who has gotten all the revenue from the Main Street Plant since 1982? The ECUA – for 24 years!

    Who foolishly has spent hundreds of millions upgrading the plant and trying rid it of its odor? ECUA has.

    Who will get all the revenue from any new plant built? ECUA will.

    ECUA and its ratepayers should pay for moving it. City of Pensacola residents should pay through their rates not with their property taxes.

    Do you go to the all former owners of your home when you need to repair your house after you have owned it for 24 years and ask them to chip in? No.

  5. Courtney Says:

    Touche, on the last comment. If I misunderstood your blog I apologize but you did say “It’s great for the federal and state governments – who have block grants for such projects – to contribute, but it isn’t proper for the city and county to pay for the new plant.”

    And now you are saying: “ECUA and its ratepayers should pay for moving it. City of Pensacola residents should pay through their rates not with their property taxes.”

    I guess you changed your mind? I agree with the above comment and I didn’t suggest that property taxes should be raised to pay for it. I agree with you that ECUA should charge its ratepayers as we are the ones that benefit from the relocation. I do disagree with FEMA funding the project, I believe the order of fiduciary responsiblity is ECUA, the rate payers, City of Pensacola and Escambia County, State of Florida, then FEMA. Not ECUA, State of Florida, FEMA, and then City of Pensacola and Escambia County. In other words, I do believe that raising property taxes should come before recieving funding from the State of Florida and FEMA. Also, Pensacola wouldn’t have had to increased the property taxes either given Pensacola’s recent decrease in millage rates.

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