We received the following Letter To The Editor from Denton Butler at 7:14 p.m. yesterday evening, May 26 while we were covering the Planning and Zoning Public Input Meeting on the draft zoning regulations; our report Board of Finance Sets Mill Rate, Discusses WPCA At May Meeting was published at 5:49 p.m. yesterday evening.
You may recall a portion of an email exchange between us dated March 6, 2009, which in part I said:
“While I applaud your effort to act as a community blog, I continue to be perplexed by two observations: what you do is geared around a “feel good” sense for news – no harm no foul. Therefore, you are missing the “crux of the issues” in the stories you cover. Not that they should be sensationalized or attempt to cause consternation. … Maria, all is not as it is represented in bucolic New Hartford.”
In your recent appeal for funding, to use your own words:
“Our blow-by-blow news coverage of issues “we consider important” (my emphasis) is unequalled: our unaffiliated view on town politics and events which means sometimes I’ll speak up at meetings and ask the hard questions ~ mostly the ones which residents suggest I ask since they, for their own good reasons, feel they can’t ask publicly.
This is partially true. However, you selectively report what you’ve asked and what you’ve observed. With this in mind, I would ask why you’ve chosen not to report on the ongoing WPCA meetings and the challenges the WPCA has failed to address in a timely manner?
I have attended and actively participated in WPCA meetings for the past (19) months and I have become exceedingly concerned about the WPCA’s ability to execute against its charter in a timely manner. While the BOC has reported numerous of these issues in our WWTP Construction Reports, BOS and BOF meetings, you have chosen to minimize or exclude these issues from your coverage.
The challenges facing this WPCA are extensive and hold the potential for exceptional pass through costs to taxpayers and users alike. A sense of timing, urgency and organization are lacking. The unresolved issues facing the WPCA include:
- Development Of A (5) Year Business Plan
- A Need To Make Operations “Self-Sustaining”
- Preparation & Release Of RFP – For Selection Of An Operator
- Updated Ordinances, Rules & Regulations
- A User Financing Plan
- Remediation – Brook Street & Main Street – Engineering Analysis, Design & Construction (Assigned To BOC By BOS)
- Local Sewer District Adoption -As Approved By (DEP)
- Adoption of User Rate Schedule – Approved & Filed With DEP
- A Need To Get On The “Priority List”- A Prerequisite To Qualify For Clean Water Funds
- Examination Of USDA Funding Options – (If Any) – (Others) For Line Addition ProgramÂ (Aquifer Protection)
- A Need To Fill-Out Its Membership With Doers
- A Hook-up Plan For Users Who Took A Pass When The Original Plant Was Constructed
- A Communication Plan To Take All Messages, Options, Ordinance Changes To Voters/Users, BOF, Â BOS
During This Same (19) Month Period Additional Challenges Have Emerged:
- Compliance Reporting To Meet The USDA’s Conformance Letter
- Development Of A Grease Pit Inspection Program To Meet State Mandates
I urge you to bring focus to these issues in your reporting and earnestly request that the WPCA get its house in order – now.
May 26, 2010
Denton Butler, a long-time resident of New Hartford, is a member of the Building Oversight Committee of the wastewater treatment plant.
To review our coverage of the wastewater treatment plant please check out the reports in our WWTP category below our masthead. Many thanks to Denton Butler for providing us with the BOC WWTP updates, all of which are included in the WWTP category.
To review our coverage of the WPCA please use our search feature (upper, right-hand side of our home page) and type in WPCA.
Our pending list of meeting reports which we have shared with Denton includes a report of the WPCA meeting of May 13 and a report of the Board of Selectmen meeting on May 25, both of which include coverage of the WPCA.
To reread our “mea culpa” for the lack of timeliness in our reporting in which ex-teacher “Mrs. Moore” gave us a grade of C-, please see our March 12 report In News Reporting, Timeliness Is Next To Range And Accuracy: A Teacher Grades NHPlus.
Note from NewhartfordPlus Crew:
Our sincere apologies to the many groups and individuals whose special interests we have not been able to cover in a timely way, if at all, due to our lack of time and our need to prioritize coverage. Â We welcome press releases/news reports/commentaries/letters to the editor, all of which help us to redress this lack of coverage. Â Please keep in mind that news reports submitted may be edited or added to so that they present as balanced a view of the subject matter as possible.
As we recently emailed Pat Casey, President of the New Hartford Historical Society:
“…If you know of a wealthy philanthropist just itching to support local news, please send them our way: they could even be ‘Publisher’…” (the ‘Publisher’ part said in a tongue-in-cheek manner, since any potential Publisher would need to support independent news coverage).
There seems to be a dearth of such philanthropists in town right now, so until one or more step up, we hope our readers will understand our continuing need to hold onto our day jobs while working on NHPlus as our avocation.