To the Editor:
Why all the hype to lease the city’s water and sewer utilities?
Maybe because the city has accumulated debt to the point that, as stated in their April 2014 audit, “leaves the legal debt margin remaining at $13,277,289.”
If you can’t borrow more money to pay for future-focused projects without potentially hurting your credit rating, or committing political suicide by raising taxes, then you have to consider selling or leasing something.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
The question is really this: Are the citizens of O’Fallon willing to lease their water and sewer utilities in order to give the city more money to spend? They have told you they will spend it. As one citizen pointed out in last week’s Progress, the city has estimated the cost to complete the Master Plan of the O’Fallon Family Sports Park to be $50-$80 million.
The problem is the city’s wish-list far exceeds a possible up-front concession of $50 million. So once that money is gone, they will want or need more.
The potential long-term water/sewer lease is a band-aid solution to the bigger problem of spending that has gotten out of control at the federal, state, and local level.
The citizens of O’Fallon have a unique opportunity to send a message to city hall. Take 10 minutes out of your day April 7 to vote “NO” on both public questions involving privatization of the city’s water and sewer utilities.