Statement from Councilman Joe Burns: Sewage Treatment Plant Audit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, April 12, 2021

Statement From Councilman And Mayoral Candidate Joe Burns:

"I strongly support the JSTP staff and management employees who have consistently demonstrated their dedication and ingenuity in providing daily operations at the plant. The plant is currently in full compliance with all DEC water quality standards for output to the river, and I have every confidence it will continue to meet those requirements through effective and efficient processes and procedures.

I also support any due diligence to make plant operations more effective and efficient in the interest of protecting the $275 million investment funded by ratepayers to improve the plant’s function and longevity – more information is better than less. The audit as proposed by the mayor should be an additional tool available to plant staff to make improvements where necessary to benefit plant stakeholders.

Unfortunately, the company selected by the mayor – Veolia – to conduct the audit has both equipment installed at the plant and an active bid to privatize plant operations. These facts preclude Veolia from impartiality in the performance and outcome of such an audit and represents a significant conflict of interest.

I am grateful to City Council President Resciniti for providing additional time for councilmembers to examine this agreement further and I urge the mayor to reconsider the use of Veolia for the purpose of auditing the plant’s operations.

I hope the mayor can be persuaded to resubmit the RFP and select an independent company that has no vested interest in the potential outcome of any audit of the plant.

Joe Burns

Binghamton City Councilman"


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