Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Water Lease Foes Have Questions For Allentown City Council
Greetings Allentown City Council Members,
At the special meeting, January 8, Council will be debating whether the public should have the right to vote on plans by the City to sell or lease any asset valued at ten million or more dollars. It is the goal of dozens of people who will be attending the meeting to convince Council to vote in favor of putting the referendum the would create this rule on the May ballot.
We are, of course, most concerned about the current plan to lease Allentown's water and sewer operation for fifty years.
We believe that having decisions of this magnitude go to referendum provides time for everyone, the administration, Council, the public, and other parties who may be affected to become informed, to evaluate options and to get involved in the process.
Council rules limit each member of the public to three minutes for comment to inform and influence Council’s decision. It is essential, therefore, to make our case, that the public have some critical information prior to their comments.
We ask that you address the following questions before hearing public comment.
When is the final RFP going to be available for the public to see?
Will there be opportunity for input at Council meetings on the final RFP?
How long from the time the RFP is made public will the bidders have to respond?
How long will Council have to evaluate the bids?
Who will be negotiating the final agreement?
How long will neighboring communities have to evaluate the impact on them of the agreement before Council votes on it?
Council has said it wants to wait until it sees the ‘numbers’ from the bidders prior to doing a thorough examination of alternatives such as forming an Allentown or regional water authority as suggested by the PA Economy League.
How much time and what resources is Council prepared to use for evaluating alternatives?
What opportunity will there be for public input?
We look forward to participating in your deliberations on Tuesday.
Committee for Allentown's Water
Updated 8 AM: Blogger Michael Molovinsky notes that this evening's special meeting starts at 6 PM.