Hydro project certifies public’s distrust in city | AspenTimes.com

Hydro project certifies public’s distrust in city

Dear Editor:

Much of the current debate concerning the proposed hydropower plant misses a broader critical point: the inability of the city to deliver on its promises to the citizens. The travails and tribulations of this misguided effort add further credence to citizen mistrust of the city.

This project was overwhelmingly approved by the voters (the author included) who concluded that the city had presented a worthy endeavor, had done its homework (fiscal, regulatory, timing, etc.), and would deliver a project based substantially on the terms set forth.

But, shortly after the bond issue passed, the cost estimates skyrocketed and the city tried to cut corners in obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals – hardly a good start. That the city is now reduced to a name-calling, finger-pointing PR blitz only demonstrates how badly off the rails the project finds itself.

Stripped to the essentials we are now left with a Hobson’s Choice, did the city initially mislead or was it simply incompetent? Either way, in the wake of this debacle, a vast number of voters properly have a deep skepticism about the ability of the city to perform within the parameters it set itself. That is, when bond issues are presented for approval, irrespective of any underlying merit, does anyone now seriously believe the project will be completed anywhere near the terms proposed at the start?

It is not about conservatives vs. environmentalists or fat cat property owners vs. the poor undermanned city. It is not about whose experts do you trust or minute financial details buried deep within spreadsheets. More properly, it is the fundamental issue of a lack of confidence that our elected officials need to address, not whether the cost of electricity is 3, 4 or 5 cents per kilowatt hour.

Neil B. Siegel


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