Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Commerce Park Pipeline: The $3.5 Million Question

Commerce Park, located in Ghent, needs to upgrade its sewage system.  Columbia County rejected building a new treatment plant in favor of a pipeline with four pumping systems that will transport its effluence into the Greenport treatment center.

The Greenport pipeline is estimated to cost  $8.8 million and the home-grown County plant $4.5 million.  A June 23 press release from the Columbia County Board of Supervisors argued that although the home-made system seems much less expensive, when you add in its annual operating costs of $162,000 versus the $45,000 for the Greenport pipeline (which includes fees to this town), it comes out even.

Is that true?  As a Greenportian concerned about the upcoming waste, I used the County's calculations from their June 1 Resolution for comparing the cumulative 30-year cost for the Greenport pipeline to the cost for building a new County treatment plant.  I used the same 3% interest and monthly payments of $449,582, and added in the two different annual operating costs.  

Over that period, the Greenport pipeline would cost about  $14 mill and the County home-grown system about $10.5 mill -- $3.5 million less after 30 years, even with the higher operating costs. After 30 years both systems will probably have to be rebuilt.

So why is the County spending that much more money on the pipeline to Greenport?   The new pipeline will have a capacity of 75,000 gallons per day, although Commerce Park only generates 20,000.  Hmmm. Could they be thinking of dumping even more sewage into Greenport from the proposed Amedore Project? Is the Commerce Park pipeline a Trojan Horse for a monster development that will damage Ghent, Claverack, and Greenport? 

Also what does Greenport get out of that annual $45,000 operating cost?  Nowhere is this mentioned in any of the documents. Are we selling out our ability to develop our own commercial area for some paltry amount of money?

The Greenport Town Board needs to give us an answer.

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