Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Tale of Two Shopping Lists . . .

Continuing on today's theme . . .

A couple weeks ago we got to see the shopping list of local officials on how they want to spend an expected largesse of federal funds from the upcoming Obama administration.

This past week, Amsterdam, NY's new mayor posted her shopping list and has already submitted it to Sen. Schumer. Among the items:
  • Replacement of old water lines in the city
  • Replacement of sanitary sewer lines in the city
  • Replacement of a WPA era DPW facility
  • Water transmission line and valve improvements/replacements
  • Raw water source improvements
  • Storm water system improvements
  • Burying public utilities on Amsterdam's historic South Side.
Mayor Thane's proposals involve infrastructure with a heavy accent on replacing things that have worn out . . . and they are well defined. Compare Amsterdam's list with the vague "let's find excuses to spend money" lists produced locally.

Perhaps Amsterdam's list is so well defined because, unlike Greater Utica, that city is still responsible for the area's water and sewer systems. The mayor can act as point person for the region, placing priorities in context with other needs.

Perhaps Amsterdam's list is so well defined because the value of a well-maintained infrastructure is better understood. Inspite of Greater Utica's water scare a year ago, no real crisis occurred. Amsterdammers, however, lived through a major crisis during the 1990s, when water supply infrastructure collapsed and the entire city for weeks relied on bottled water to meet potable water needs.

Or perhaps the difference is simply . . . Leadership.

If you worked for President Obama, where would you direct the US' money?

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