ECUA has plan to move plant

babyThanks to public record requests – I obtained the powerpoint presentation that O’Sullivan Creel has used in its latest presentations to ECUA board members on moving the Main Street Sewage Treatment Plant. The numbers are quite different from what the PNJ published on Sunday, Dec. 17.

The recommendation from O’Sullivan Creel does call for some participation by Escambia County and the City of Pensacola but their contributions are minimal. ECUA ratepayers and the Downtown CRA pay the lion share of the costs.

It truly is a remarkable plan. Yes, in perfect world, I would rather all of it be paid by ECUA, but the contributions by Pensacola and the County are so small that it isn’t worth fighting over. The plant can be moved without the use of property taxes – if the county and city manage their funds wisely.

In the end ECUA sewer customers will see their bill only go up $3.60 per month. Over 20 years that will raise $122.3 million. The CRA will pay $19.5 million over 20 years. The City will chip in $1.2 million over ten years – an average of $120,247.30 per year. The County will pay $6.8 million over ten years – $681,401.60 per year. Both City and County can easily use local sales tax monies to do it.

This will be enough to pay off a bond issue for the $120 million needed to move the plant.

And before you worry about the CRA being bankrupt. The CRA is projected to have enough revenues pay the $19.5 for the plant, pay off the bonds on the Community Maritime Park, pay for other capital plans on the books for the CRA and still have $3.7 to 1.5 million left over each year for the next ten years. By year 20 (2026), the CRA could have as much as $16.75 million available for other projects.

Folks, this is a no-brainer. It’s not perfect – Every side will have to give a little, but it will move that plant and do so without putting an unnecessary burden on ECUA, County, City or CRA.

Expect Marty Donovan to oppose it and County Administrator George Touart to say the county doesn’t have the money – but can’t let these demagogues stop a project that will impact this community for future generations.