Does ECUA get the message?

September 8, 2006

ECUA  One government agency that should listen hard to the Sept. 5th primary vote is the Emerald Coast Utility Authority. The voters want change. We hear that FEMA will announce this month whether the funds allocated for repairing the Main St. Plant can be used to relocate it.

ECUA needs to be prepared to consider rate increases to help finance the move and the construction of a new plant near Gulf Power’s Crist plant. Seminole County is doing that. There the county commissioners run the utility and they aren’t asking for cities or the county’s general fund to pay for their $250 million in utility capital projects.

Run the Orlando Sentinel: Seminole water, sewer bills may jump by $20

laughThere’s no point in sending this to Gulf1.com – even though I answer all his questions. It’s obvious Mike West (“Dr. Wallace”) doesn’t want a real debate on the waterfront park, but I welcome his reply.

I do suggest all pro-park supporters to cut-and-paste these answers to your letters to West/Wallace so that your opinions will be posted on gulf1.com in the future.
__________________________________

* Of the cities you named above, how many have a working sewer plant less 100 yards from their development projects? Our research shows that few do. Although many were built in blighted areas and had some unique challenges.

 

* How many people do you think will go to a baseball game at the waterfront park on an evening when the breeze is blowing from the Main Street Sewer Plant? The stadium capacity is 3500 so that’s how many I think will go.

Based on your research, how many summer and spring nights does the breeze from the Main Street Sewer Plant blow southeasterly? Have you ever walked the propery at night? during the day even? Have you polled the owners of Port Royal? It doesn’t look like the plant is impacting their property values or resales.

* How many people do you think will attend a concert at the waterfront park on an evening when the breeze is blowing from the Main Street Sewer Plant? The stadium capacity is 3500 so that’s how many I think will go if that’s where the concert is held. I don’t know the capacity of the outdoor amphitheater, but let’s say 5,000.

Again based on your research, how many winter and fall nights does the breeze from the Main Street Sewer Plant blow southeasterly? What does your polling data show? Have you polled anyone who has been on the property on a daily basis?

The CMP plan has been discussed for two years – you’ve had ample time to accumulate data to prove whether there is a significant odor problem on the eastern edge of the property – especially given your emphasis on it.

* Do you really think that people will want to go swimming in Pensacola Bay where the Main Street Sewer main discharges? No, I don’t think anyone should swim in Pensacola Bay anywhere along the downtown Pensacola shore.

What impact does swimming really have on a multi-use stadium, amphitheater, maritime museum, conference center, office buildings, retail shops or restaurants? No one swims in the Alabama River in downtown Montgomery where their new ball park is built ($30 million, all public $$$).

* Do you know how much of the 1-1/2 mile water front will be available for the public, and how much will be restricted for UWF use? No. Do you? Have you asked UWF? It seems that they would the best ones to answer that question not casual readers of gulf1.com. Again I ask why is this important to answer before someone criticizes one of your viewpoints?

* If the vast majority of citizens of Escambia County are decidedly against spending over 280 million dollars to move the Main Street Sewer Plant, do you really think the plant will be move in the next 2 years? Please clarify. Are you suggesting that the “vast majority of Escambia County” won’t want the $280 million dollar to be spent on the relocation if the state and federal is paying most of it?

I can’t see them objecting to that. No one has ever believed the ECUA customers will pay the entire $280 million. I can send you the reports if it will help you better understand the financing issues on moving the plant.

So your “if” won’t happen – but if the State and Feds reneged on their commitments – and that is a big “if – My answer is no.

How about 5 years? SEE ABOVE The truth is more likely 10 years, if all! All the time the sewer plant continues to stymie the waterfront park projects.

No, the truth is the plant only stymies the waterfront if we let it. The fact is most of the Trillium property is across from City Hall and near Port Royal.

If you can solve the moving of the sewer plant first, then I will join you on the park. If you cannot then you are wasting your time.

It’s been solved. ECUA has the solution. It’s public record. They are moving slower than I like (Remember we’ve been writing about moving the plant since 2001), but they are getting it done. The whole community can’t be held in limbo based on your fears the wind might change direction any given night.

Mike, quit bullying your readers. Take your criticism like a man and open up the debate. Aren’t conservatives for free speech, too? If you have more questions, bring it on!

 

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  6. SOC tapped out
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  8. New Marketing Company in Town
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coffeeRick,

I liked your introduction to the ECUA debacle very much, but there is a lot more to the story.

Check the total residences in approved subdivisions for Santa Rosa and compare that total to the same number for approved subdivisions for Escambia County. 

Now ask yourself:

  • Why are so many more approved for Santa Rosa? 
  • Why is there a net population loss for Escambia County? 
  • Why are net student registrations dropping in Escambia County? 
  • Why is Wal-Mart closing its automotive services departments early everyday?  Why are there so many help wanted signs for low to moderate income workers?

Here is why:

Many “Work-Force Workers” (those earning $7 to $17 per hour who make up the majority of the workforce) are very mobile.  When they can’t find a place to live or an affordable place to live, they move away toward areas that offer a better “value” balance between wages and housing, and a greater availability of housing.

By many estimates, Escambia County is short 8,000 to 12,000 residences.  Yeah I know there is a glut in the Real-Estate market, but those homes are not “Work-Force” affordable when you do the math on current household wages!

There are only four sewer treatment plants in Escambia County (including the beach).  All are old, out of date, and operating at over 87% of capacity.  Building Permitting Policies are a shambles, and appear to strongly favor a few local developers.  

Thus; no sewage service, no construction – housing prices go up.

  • No construction, no housing. (at least not enough housing, and the affordability doesn’t work with wages.)
  • No housing, no workers.  (population loss)
  • No workers, no children.  (falling school registration rate)
  • No workers, construction, housing; failing tax-base.

 – driven hwy 29 lately?

Bottom Line:

The county infrastructure is falling apart, and affordable homes are virtually non existent.

  • Will there be a moratorium on construction in Escambia County because of a lack of sanitary infrastructure?

Not likely.  Because there are few homes being built.  The economy is just slowing down drastically.  The age of A/R for many companies is rising sharply.

Check it out.

I appreciate the job you are doing!

Jack Moran

“Through out history, nothing advances civility or promotes enterprise within a community, like the Arts.”
–  Sir Wallace Moran, OSJ

secretThey’ve already signed up: ECUA, SRIA and Save Our City.

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    lensWith Lois Benson and Dale Perkins re-elected without any opposition, it’s time for the utility board to tell the rate payers how ECUA will pay for moving the Main Street Sewage Treatment facility. Give us a plan with and without federal dollars.

    If you want funds from the county or city, tell us now.

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