By Steve Norman Albany Democrat-Herald
Albany and Millersburg officials Monday gave Congressman Peter DeFazio a driving tour of the cities’ joint water project and pitched him on the importance of finding federal grant money to help with the cost. “This open canal is a unique problem and warrants quick attention,” DeFazio said as he stood on a narrow footbridge over the Albany-Santiam Canal near 34th Avenue and Pacific Boulevard.
Quick study that DeFazio. I guess his extensive background in water management has given him great insight into the problem. What exactly IS the problem Petey?
Gathered there were Millersburg Mayor Clayton Wood and city planner Donald Driscoll, Albany City Engineer Diane Dennis, Councilman Doug Killin and Linda Macpherson, a representative CH2M-Hill, the consulting firm helping the cities with their project. Albany and Millersburg officials hope DeFazio can help the cities obtain grants to fund some portion of their joint $39 million water project, lowering rates to consumers and reducing dependence on canal water.
Oh, I see. We’re going to spend $39 million dollars but no one is going to have to pay for it. In fact, We’re going to be able to charge less money. How exactly does that work?
The water project — including a joint water intake on the Santiam River and a treatment plant on Scravel Hill — will pump about 12 million gallons a day to both cities. The city representatives showed DeFazio sites of the project as well as the existing canal and treatment plant. The project would give Albany and Millersburg a second water source, in addition to the canal. In addition to looking for help paying for the joint water project, Albany is looking for grants to replace miles of leaking iron pipe, which was installed prior to 1955 and loses 25 percent of all the water the Albany plant produces, said Dennis, the engineer.
But I thought we were’nt going to have to pay for it. We can decrease charges for water in fact
DeFazio said that a bill he sponsored — the Water Quality Financing Act of 2002 — was designed to reduce the annual $24 billion dollar gap between the cost of needed water infrastructure improvements nationwide and available funding.
Oh? There’s a Federal Water Bureau? Why haven’t I heard of it before? When did it come into existance?
The bill would earmark $20 billion over five years for the Clean Water Revolving Fund, DeFazio said. This would make available more money, which DeFazio said would encourage the states to make grants available for municipalities.
I’m not sure I understand this statement. Earmark $20 Billion for who? I guess it would make available $20 billion more but what are the strings? (other than voting for DeFazio) If DeFazio is going to send the money from Washington to Albany, where does the State come in? One thing I’m sure of..None of this spending will endanger the Social Security Trust Fund. You can rest assured on that. Only Republican spending endangers the Social Security Trust Fund.
The bill, HR 3930, cleared the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee March 20 but is stalled waiting for Republican leaders to take it up, DeFazio said. The sticking point is a “Davis-Bacon” provision, which says that not less than the locally prevailing wage be paid to workers employed in federal contract construction.
This is also known as the “great Union campaign contribution kickback” provision.
DeFazio, D-4th District, has been in the House since 1987. He is unopposed for renomination in the May 21 primary. The sole candidate for the Republican nomination is former state Rep. Liz VanLeeuwen of the Halsey area.
And if you don’t vote for DeFazio, you don’t get the money. Hey, don’t get the wrong idea, this is nothing like vote buying. Vote buying is when you promise money and programs during an elect…um, never mind.
According to the joint water project plan proposed by Albany and Millersburg, the $39 million cost will be paid for by a 45 percent increase in water fees and an increase in system development charges, Councilman Killin said.
Wait a minute. Didn’t you say at the beginning of the article that water rates would be lowered?
“I dread the possibility that within the next five years the sewer and water rate could be more than $80 a month for the average household,” Killin said. “Any help from the federal government could lessen that a lot.”
Wait! What happened to the decreased water rates?
Millersburg has already secured a $6 million state loan to pay for its portion of the joint water project. But both cities will share in any grants that materialize, Killin said. DeFazio, the senior Democrat on the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, said money spent on infrastructure will “put people back to work.
Oh goody! Just wait. The unemployment around here is pretty high but with the water project we’re looking at, uhh, how many jobs Petey? 100? 200? or maybe 1 or 2. Just wondering Petey.