For your kind consideration:
We feel this is the right time for the City Council to impose a spending moratorium on large projects on the island until the tremendous debt imposed by the water company purchase and sewer construction projects is absorbed. We believe now is not the time to add more debt for projects that are not critical. We also believe the city needs to learn how to preform “due diligence” on its projects.
Due diligence, it is used to investigate and evaluate. It spurs investigation in all relevant aspects of past, present, and the predictable future. It translates into basic common sense, such as using help from knowledgeable people, through research and doing the appropriate homework.
We now know that due diligence was not performed on either the water company purchase or the sewer system. The proof is in the debt and the fact that we still do not know the cost of fixing the underground systems.
We are now hearing about new large projects that don’t appear to have had the appropriate due diligence. We have already spent $2,000,000 on the Smokehouse Bay Bridge (SHBB) and still do not have the answers. If we were putting the bridge out for bids, why are there so many questions? Some as basic as, should it be built now? Why not ban vehicles, with a gross weight of greater than 10,000 lbs, from crossing the bridge until due diligence is completed, perhaps for five years? Those vehicles can use the entry from Rt. 92 and San Marco Road to eliminate the need to cross the SHBB and use Rt. 951 for deliveries before the bridge. Or use Rt. 951 to Bald Eagle to San Marco Road. The 80 percent condition and the relief of the heavy weight vehicles should allow sufficient time for due diligence.
We believe that the spending of $450,000 for the Fire Department and $2.2 million for Mackle Park enhancement, as well as other large projects, can be put off while the city absorbs the already heavy debt.
We would like to recommend the City Council establish a five year moratorium on spending for high priced projects and use the money to reduce the debt. This would give the city time to complete due diligence on any of the problems that the water and sewer systems, as well as the new projects that are under current consideration.
Between the three of us, Jack Markel retired from American Water Works Company after over 37 years in the water industry, managing utilities having a capacity of up to 105 million gallons. Peter Clapp owned and managed a structural steel fabrication company and a specialty equipped sheet metal plant, after retiring from senior management of large corporations. Richard Kaelin was a vice president of a large corporation in Illinois that purchased several companies after using due diligence.
Thank you and with respect.
Jack Markel, 13 year Marco homeowner and 26 year Marco land owner
Peter Clapp, 17 year Marco homeowner
Richard Kaelin, a 15 year Marco homeowner