FEMA tells ECUA find the $115M elsewhere

madJust as we predicted months ago – and just as Sen. Bill Nelson and Congressman Jeff Miller told them – FEMA rejected another grant to ECUA to help pay for the remaining $115 million needed to move the Main St. Plant and build a new one.

Now the real politics will begin. ECUA staff and its consultants have probably already begun informal meetings with county and city staffs.

ECUA will argue the City will get new land on the tax rolls once ECUA sells the old plant to developers so the City should help pay.

ECUA will argue that County should pay because the new plant will open the central part of the county to development.

What ECUA will not do is admit that they have mismanaged their finances the past 20 years and didn’t set aside enough funds for this. ECUA should have raised its tap fees long ago and began a plan of gradual rate increases to build up the needed cash. Instead the board focused on re-election and kept throwing away millions on the downtown plant.

I love Esc. Co. Commissioner Mike Whitehead’s suggestion in the PNJ: “The money come from the Community Redevelopment Agency, a 40-block area in downtown Pensacola that focuses on ending blight.” This is from the man whose board had a $31 million windfall in property taxes this year.

Great leadership, Commissioner, keep passing the buck while keeping your own.