To The Herald-Whig:
Some time ago, articles appeared in The Herald-Whig regarding some vitally needed repairs at Quincy's drinking water treatment plant and the wastewater treatment plant. These articles, and their content, triggered some questions in my mind that I think need answers.
It was stated by Jeff Conte, city of Quincy engineer and utilities director, that the drinking water plant had millions of dollars of repairs needed just to make it operate properly and increase the safety of plant operations for city staff. He went on to talk about water rate comparisons with other cities and indicated a water rate increase may be in our very near future.
I also understand that a similar meeting regarding the sewer treatment facility was held, and many more millions are needed to get the facility to acceptable operation levels as well. Again, rate increases were discussed to pay for needed repairs. I was hoping to watch these presentations in their entirety on the city's video section. I found the mayor's State of the City address, but I did not find any presentations regarding the potential expenditure of millions of taxpayer dollars that the city may have to spend very soon. I find that an interesting set of priorities and lacking in transparency, especially with an upcoming city election.
I seem to remember that when the former director of utilities left, there was talk of the water and sewer department having combined reserves of well over $10 million. It seems to me the question needs to be asked: "Where are the millions of water and sewer department reserves that the water and sewer department earmarked for maintaining our water and sewer plants, and all the people in Quincy paid for, and why is our money not available now?"
Why are they talking about water and sewer rate increases when the reserves should already be in place to pay for these repairs? The citizens of Quincy paid over the cost of production on their water and sewer rates by millions of dollars over the years just so the city could maintain these vital infrastructure systems. Why should we be asked to pay for this again? How can the city have spent many millions of water and sewer reserves in four short years? The administration at City Hall needs to explain this to the people of Quincy.
John G. Strieker