…a first world water emergency

(This article ran as an editorial in the hard copy edition of the Tinytown Gazette’s, March 7 edition).

When I birthed the Tinytown Gazette in 1993 the very first issue we ran into was Cohasset Water. From 1993 through 1994 the Gazette and its writers wrote about water incessantly. Sometimes there were 10 water editorials. The issue was that over a number of years  water commissioners had failed to act as water commissioners. Valves were frozen open and frozen closed all over town, some leaks had formed ponds, and then in the early spring of 1994 the water stopped on Jerusalem Road – a true testiment to the work which had not been done.

The water commissioners of 1993 were honorable. For a period of two months we (this newspaper and this newspaper alone) asked them to resign and all three of them did so.

In turn, the selectmen made a series of water commission appointments and for the first time, outside consultants were brought in to began a massive and expensive infrastructure program; after many years of paying through the nose, things were brought up to speed.
Today, we have a different kind of water emergency. We have water commissioners who are flirting with investor-type operators and consignment contracts. Forget helping Third world countries with their access to water. We are already paying  unsustainable rates for Cohasset water.

Our Tinytown Gazette expert says:

“Municipal and regional water systems certainly could use some help finding
money to make mandated  water improvements, but when you are tapped out, the only thing that really works is grants. Otherwise you just end up shifting ownership and funding of water assets to entities that have a higher cost of funds that has to be passed on to rate payers. The local water department may get off the hook, but the cost of the investment has to be recovered, whether it’s an equity investment by the owner of an asset, a bank loan, corporate bonds, or a pension fund investment.”

There’s an old adage – if you’re sick and you go to a surgeon he’ll cut something off.
Accordingly, if the head of your water commission is a guy who has a portfolio of investors, that’s what he’ll do for you. Find you investors.

Do we need investors? My tingley Spidey ring says not. .

In related news…..this newspaper is being published one week before suspended Cohasset Town Manager Mike Coughlin has a public hearing before Cohasset Selectmen on Tues., March 13.

Selectmen are working diligently to find a reason for his termination.

On February 25, Peter DeCaprio told tinytownunleashed.com:

“Between the town neglecting to pay over $200,000 in past due bills, and other residents neglecting to pay an additional $399,000 in bills, according to the state’s definition of retained earnings we had a cash deficit. The good news is that cash collections are likely to improve this month when the shut-off policy goes into effect

“The other good news is that we have convinced the new finance department that they are in fact on the hook for the $500k that the town owed us previously, and they have also agreed that their original overhead allocations to us were incorrect. More cash for the water company.”

So, that’s where the deficit selectmen recently found is coming from….a parting gift from Cohasset Water and DeCaprio to Coughlin.

Pin it on the last guy out the door, I always say.

© Copyright 2012 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed

  4 comments for “…a first world water emergency

  1. peter decaprio
    March 9, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Yes but I only talked to Aquarion about “hotwiring.” We didn’t talk about rates and maximizing profits because we ran out of time. There was so much hotwiring talk we got sidetracked. Hotwiring is a very complicated process. Ask Coughlin. He’ll tell you.

    Then we talked about who would pick up the cost to paint the tanks with the Macquarie logos. I think they should.

  2. Mary A. Parsons
    March 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    It is customary for the water dept. to place a lein on the homeowners home until the water arears are paid in full. Did anyone catch the editorial in the patriot ledger? “As private water suppliers grow, ratepayers need help.” It is all about Aquarion Water Co. who is currently seeking to increase water rates by 16.5%. CEO Chuck Firlotte to told the newspaper the company’s primary responsibility is to maximize profits and plan to accomplish this by increasing rates and acquisitions. isn’t this the company Peter Decaprio consulted with concerning Cohasset’s RFP?

  3. March 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    It’s getting curiouser and curiouser.

  4. peter decaprio
    March 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    If he’s being terminated without cause, why do they need a reason?

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