Perhaps I should stop referring to the Gazette as “crusty” (a term I stole from reporter Mary Carey). Yesterday’s editorial was hardly supportive…amazing! Most newspapers consider Conflict Of Interest and Open Meeting laws sacred.
And crusty--I mean the Gazette--has yet to weigh in on the ridiculous circumvention of Open Meeting Law by Umass Trustees powwowing at a private "retreat."
The editor seems to buy the spin generated by the Umass Public Relations Department (most notably former Gazette political reporter Pat Callahan) and they continue to use the $140,000 per year as the net “unanticipated revenues,” failing to factor in the loss of $37,800 with the effluent water waiver.
But the real loss is FAR greater than that. Umass paid Amherst $37,800 last year for the effluent used in their tired old steam plant (to provide heat in the winter). The new Super Plant will provide both steam heat AND year-round electricity. So their use of Amherst effluent will AT THE VERY LEAST DOUBLE.
And Amherst just increased across-the-board the water rates by 25%, so even if usage stayed the same Umass would pay $50,000 next year. But since usage will now DOUBLE the Select board with their 3-2 vote on 9/17 flushed down the toilet $100,000 per year for the next five years.
Hadley charges top water users $4.85/100 cubic feet or better than 50% more than Amherst charges Umass. If our illustrious water/sewer commissioners simply decide to institute that rate for high-end users in Amherst, Umass would pay us an ADDITIONAL $500,000 for potable water and $150,000 for effluent water this year.
Now that would really encourage conservation.
UPDATE (9/28/07): The Umass Trustee's saw the light and decided to open to the public their upcoming "retreat". Maybe Crusty had a little to do with it as they at least mentioned the controversy on Page One not to long ago (but their editorial department was asleep at the wheel)