Broward News

Wasting Away in Hallandale

As Hallandale Beach inches closer to cutting a big check to build its own wastewater treatment plant, Commissioner Keith London asks that his objections be duly noted in the historical record.

For starters, London objects to a $150,000 study that tells the commission what it already knows: that the plant can only be located in the city's affluent and politically connected northeast side or the impoverished and politically impotent northwest side. In which case, it's destined to be the latter. London was the only dissenting vote on a commission that committed to paying for half of the study, assuming the other half will be paid through Broward County, whose Technical Advisory Committee to the Water Board is expected to make a decision at its Friday meeting.

In addition, London is unimpressed by the purported savings of having a plant within the city's borders. Currently, Hallandale is paying $3.36 million to Hollywood for wastewater treatment. The cost of an in-city plant is estimated to be a shade under $3 million. "But they're looking at capital costs to build the treatment plant," explains London. Among the expenses he says are not factored in: land acquisition, the laying of pipelines through which to pump the wastewater from one side of the city to another, and the decrease in home values in the plant's surrounding neighborhood.

And if it's to be the northwest side, then London wonders why the commission's only resident of that neighborhood won't join the dissent. Or that Sanders at least makes a more coherent case for his neighbors than the one that was quoted last week in the Sun-Sentinel:

"My thing is, if it is going to benefit the entire city, but we are the ones that have to deal with the adverse effect--in this case, a bad smell--the residents of this surrounding area should see some sort of a rebate."
To which London says, "Huh? Everybody gets a rebate because a truck goes down the street? How do you calculate that?"

The plant appears to be the latest, most misguided, pennywise-and-pound-foolish policy of City Manager Mike Good, who in London's opinion has luxurious tastes that the city budget cannot accommodate.

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Thomas Francis