Aquarion Services Company is the only bidder on a 20-year, $176 million contract with the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts to build and operate the wastewater treatment facility, currently run by the city of Holyoke and by city workers. Aquarion is owned by the Kelda Group, a UK-based corporation.
The push for Aquarion has included promises of great public savings and freedom from responsiblity, backed by threats of EPA fines and promising numbers from well-paid consultants like the self-proclaimed 'Quarterback of Privatization' Mr. Jack Lyons. The $millions$ of dollars of savings are served up to the ratepayers in the form of rate increases which will more than double current rates.
The benefits of the current public operation include local control and accountability, while the deal with Aquarion trades a public utility for the Kelda Group shareholders, whose sole demand is that Aquarion turn a profit. The easiest way for Aquarion to do that is to cut labor costs, and the city of Holyoke loses good civil service liveable-wage jobs and the benefits of city residents who work for the city. That relationship is destroyed when the workers transfer to Aquarion, and a century of public service jobs are erased.
The DPW has provided great service at reasonable rates since 1871. The DPW jobs are good local union jobs, and local control and accountability is with the city. Why sell off a slice to a corporation?. Read these stories of water privatization struggles in Lee and Lawrence, and the privatization fiascoes in Atlanta and New Orleans, Lynn and Camden and around the world, and it is hard not to come to the conclusion that citizens need local public control of utilities like water.
NO CONTRACT WITH AQUARION!
No rate hike until we know what we are paying for!
Continue public operation and improvements to clean up the river!
Keep city jobs in Holyoke!
Take Action >>>
Attend City Council 7:30pm on Tuesdays
Contact Mayor Mike Sullivan: Telephone: 322-5510 Constituent: 539-9399
1.Privatization Leads to Rate Increases 2.Privatization Undermines Water Quality 3.Companies Are Accountable to Shareholders, Not Consumers 4.Privatization Fosters Corruption 5.Privatization Reduces Local Control and Public Rights 6.Private Financing Costs More than Government Financing 7.Privatization Leads to Job Losses 8.Privatization is Difficult to Reverse 9.Privatization Can Leave the Poor with No Access to Clean Water
10. Privatization Would Open the Door for Bulk Water Exports
Resources on the debate over Water Privatization
William Fuqua, Superintendent
63 Canal Street Holyoke, MA 01040 Office Hours: 8:30 a. m. to 4:30 p.m.