Note: This Op-Ed was published in the Copper Country and incorrectly identified Sandy Palmer with the IDA, and not Fred Barcon as a local contractor, as the author. The SilverBelt will post a correction online and retraction next week.
This is the correct Op-Ed by Fred Barcon, who has written several op-eds in this publication on this subject.
By: Fred Barcon
Several people have asked me to provide an update on the Tri-City Regional Sanitary District project.
I am in FULL support of a cost-effective solution to solve the Tri-City wastewater issues.
I own two parcels of commercial land in Tri-City, this tax affects my bank account; therefore, I have a personal interest in the project. I am also a federal contractor with decades of experience building wastewater projects. I have the professional expertise to troubleshoot this type of project.
In all my years in construction, I have never seen a project like the Tri-City Regional Sanitary District project. It defies logic and common sense, and breaks protocol. By federal standards, it should be ineligible for funding.
Not many people have the background or understanding to know how a project like this should be conducted, and because of that fact, the TRSD board and staff routinely take advantage. They make false claims knowing most people won’t know the difference.
One example that proves this point, if you look at the documents prepared by PACE engineering on the TRSD website, they claim that Town of Miami doesn’t have enough capacity, and the only solution is to build a third wastewater treatment plant.
Then, in the exact same document, TRSD and PACE engineering claim to have had over 60+ well-documented meetings with Town of Miami to discuss forming a partnership.
Think about that. If Miami did not have the capacity, do you really think it would have taken several years and over 60+ meetings for TRSD’s engineer and professional staff to figure out Miami didn’t have capacity?
No, it certainly would not. They wouldn’t have had over 60+ meetings if partnership with Miami were not the best solution. Having 60+ meetings is proof that partnership is the best solution.
The breaking point in the negotiations between Town of Miami and TRSD came when Bob Zache insisted on having control of Miami’s plant and Miami refused.
The solution would have been forming a new wastewater treatment board with representation from both districts. No one wins when egos clash. And that’s exactly what happened. It was a clash of egos.
TRSD has been wasting time and money advancing the third wastewater treatment plant project that is riddled with mistakes, errors, missteps and somehow USDA allows this to continue.
The residents of Tri-City cannot afford this project.
A few property owners, including myself, have had personal meetings with Congressman O’Halleran to highlight the issue with the TRSD project. The Congressman is very concerned about the cost-burden this project would force on the low-income population, and the misuse of federal funds.
The Congressman intends to intervene. He assured us that USDA’s threat that residents either accept the project or lose the funding is wrong. A federal agency should never make those threats. The Congressman assured us the funding will not be lost, he will make sure USDA examines the logical, cost-effective solutions that solves the issues without becoming a heavy tax burden on the residents.