Before It Drinks the Kool-Aid!
That's the thought that went through my mind at last night's Utica Common Council caucus meeting when the subject of the North Utica Interceptor easement came up.
The hoped for weighing of the issues turned into listening to invited guest Mr. DiMeo's rosy predictions of the benefits of their approval of the project. No one was asked to present the other side.
Listeners seemed to take solace in the fact that Utican's make up only 49% of the sewer district's rate-base, rather than the 70% earlier reported, without inquiring as to what those numbers really mean. (Utica's population of 62,000 is still more than half of the sewer district's estimate of 110,000 population served).
While it may be comforting for councilpersons to believe that the new pipeline will lead to hundreds of good-paying jobs at "Quad C" and the Marcy NanoCenter, they failed to even entertain the more likely outcome that they have just approved a pipeline that will
(1) Be heavily financed by Utica rate-payers along with rate-increases to finance corresponding expansions of the treatment-plant itself,
(2) Increase the cost of doing business within the City of Utica,
(3) Give the gift of access to public sewers to large areas north of the Mohawk River (I.e., Marcy, Deerfield, Trenton) at no cost to developers there,
(4) Devalue all properties in Utica because access to public-sewers in the suburbs will become common
(5) Lead to the exodus of more Uticans for the suburbs, making it even more difficult for their City to finance even basic municipal services.
The Council has unwittingly driven a nail into Utica's coffin.