Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Psst . . . Your pants are on fire"

pants on fire
A couple of weeks ago I was reading an article in our local paper about adopting a new county-wide water system.

One of the big reasons given for approving the coal plant in the Town of Dendron was that they needed enormous upgrades to their town's water system.

The utility proposing the plant, ODEC, promised a large sum of money to the town in the form of proffers to go toward the water system.

Since the lawsuit contesting the town's approval of the plant, which I told you about in a previous "Psst . . . Your pants are on fire" HERE, ODEC has witheld some of those proffers, only giving the town $50,000.

Here's the summary of the situation that appeared in the article I was reading:

    "Old Dominion Electric Cooperative gave the town $50,000 last year
 for some emergency repairs,
but the remaining $715,000 in proffers for the aging water system
 and other town infrastructure remains tied up
due to litigation over the proposed Cypress Creek power plant, said Mayor Yvonne Pierce."
  - Smithfield Times, Oct. 26, 2011

Yeesh! $715,000? That's a lot of money. All tied up by a lawsuit, huh?

Hmmm...not so fast.

In looking over the proffers I think Mayor Pierce--and the Smithfiled Times--are mistaken.

The proffers I'm looking at (dated Jan. 21, 2010) seem to say that $100,000 is to be given within 90 days of zoning approval (pending, of course, challenge), and the remaining $500,000 for water to be given upon obtaining a "building permit for construction of any buildings associated with the power plant" or upon the "Town obtaining a sufficient grant to make all necessary repairs to the Town water system"--whichever occurs first.

So $100,000 within 90 days of approval....unless there's a lawsuit.

Which there was, but ODEC still gave $50,000...or half.

Then the "remaining $500,000" when a building permit is obtained or when the town gets a grant. I'm not sure if the Town has obtained the necessary grants, but I know we are a long way away (if ever) from building permits being issued.

That's $600,000 total. Not $715,000 like the article says.

Proffers for sidewalks and recreation improvements make up the $115,000 difference. And even there the proffer agreement states that they shall be given "prior to obtaining a land disturbance permit for construction of a power plant."

Again...a looooong way off from construction. ODEC doesn't even have an application in with the State Department of Environmental Quality, let alone approval!

$50,000 vs $715,000.

That's a big difference.

Blaming this lawsuit on holding up anything but $50,000 is some funky math.

Of course, it's not nearly as dramatic or divisive to blame some citizens for holding up $50,000 as it is to blame them for $715,000.

And it's definitely not as dramatic or divisive to blame some cititizens as it is to accept responsibility that you may have broken the law with your public hearing and misled the citizens by lying to them.

But that seems to be the way ODEC operates: divide and conquer....and fudge the facts.

Wonder if they get group rates on new pants?

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