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Accountability and transparency about the Power Plant issue.

posted Nov 25, 2014, 5:33 AM by Doug Roberts   [ updated Nov 25, 2014, 5:48 AM ]
Anybody who has attended a Village Board meeting in the last few months can tell you that lately the meetings follow a fairly predictable pattern: There is an announcement about another issue with the power plant- this month's news was that we need to spend an additional $55K to audit our power plant again- followed by angry comments from villagers that starts to devolve into heated and rude exchanges between Mayor Nyce and those at the podium.  The conversation usually veers into the details of how our power plant works and, I believe, loses sight of the big picture.  I appreciate the efforts of those in the community who want to make sure that we don't spend more money than is necessary to keep our power plant functional.  I also appreciate the efforts of our Village Administrator and utility employees to do the same.  

My suggestion to the Trustees and Mayor is to provide a full report, beginning to end, of the journey we've been on with our power plant over the last 18 months.  Take the conversation out of the weeds, give us the 30,000-foot view, help us all understand the larger goals and reasons for various decisions that have been made. The public grows increasingly skeptical as these issues continue to be raised.  Most Greenporters don't know the first thing about how a power plant works, and the more we dive into the nuts and bolts of the plant in our meetings the more we alienate the average citizen. I and many Greenporters I talk to would support the Board's decision to spend an additional $55K if we believe it is the right thing to do.  We may be skeptical, but we are ready to listen. A presentation at an upcoming board meeting by the Trustees or a 3-4 page case study narrative document would go a long way to flipping the conversation to focus on the big picture: we all want The Board to spend what it takes to ensure our power independence for years to come.  It is hard sometimes to distill the larger goals from the minutia.  

As a Trustee, I will always keep the audience for the message in mind- Greenport's residents and homeowners, especially those who are not able to make the meetings!