Next year St. Louis will turn 250 years old. In those early years St. Louis didn’t have a municipal water system, but for the last 178 years we have.
1764: The City of St. Louis is founded.
1831: The City of St. Louis contracts with Abraham Fox and John Wilson to build a waterworks.
1835: The City of St. Louis buys out the bankrupt Fox and Wilson, becoming sole owner of the St. Louis Waterworks. (St. Louis Water history)
With that long history comes old infrastructure. To get advice St. Louis issued a request for proposals to provide a “Operational Efficiency and Value Creation Analysis”:
The objective of the St. Louis Water Division is to retain a Consultant or Consultants with expertise in water system operations that can provide insight and new ideas, programs and approaches on ways to increase the Water Division’s efficiency and/or revenues in order to postpone or lessen future water rate increases and to improve customer satisfaction. The Cityand the Water Division for the most part would like to identify the ideas, have them bedeveloped into projects or programs and be implemented through Performance Contracting such that the City has no additional initial outlay of funds for capital projects or procurement of equipment or services. There will be some Non-Performance Contracting efforts that will result in delivery of a report with recommendations and a detailed implementation plan that can be executed by the SLWD or others
Sounds like a proactive step, but the winner of the bidding process, French firm Veolia, is viewed by some as a company that specializes in the privatization of public water systems. So the fear is a short-term consulting contract is the gateway to handing over a valuable city asset.
Mayor Slay is saying Comptroller Green has a duty to sign the $250,000 contract since it went through the bidding process. Meanwhile, Lewis Reed, President of the Board of Aldermen, is calling for hearings over the handling of the contract.
For months a grass-roots organization Dump Veolia has fought the contract at every step:
We are a group of concerned residents who want St. Louis to reject a proposed water consultancy contract with the French multinational corporation Veolia, the largest water privatization company in the world.? Learn what the campaign is about, who is mobilizing against Veolia, and why.???
The poll question this week is “Should St. Louis Sign The Water Consulting Contract With Veoila?” The poll is in the right sidebar, results to be posted on Wednesday October 20th.
– Steve Patterson