Some things just look too good

Hindsight is 20/20.

President Obama said that when the solar company Solyndra declared bankruptcy after receiving half a billion dollars of taxpayer money.

It may be what some Ramona water board members are thinking after learning that a county lien could jeopardize plans for a solar project at the San Vicente sewer treatment plant. The district paid a $10,000 refundable fee to get the project off the ground. The problem is, unless the project is finished at a certain time, the district loses the $10,000.

It sounded great when the district’s attorney presented the idea to the board. A private firm would build the project, the district would pay less for electricity for the next 20 years, and it would get the public’s $10,000 back.

Based on conversation at a recent board meeting, all’s going well with the Santa Maria plant’s solar project. The district fronted $15,000 for that, and, unless something unforeseen happens, Santa Maria solar will be finished on time and the district will see its $15,000 again.

Just as a former school board didn’t foresee reduced student enrollment and a depressed economy when it borrowed $25 million to get state matching funds for school improvements, the water board didn’t know a county lien could put a wrench in the project. In fact, they didn’t know there was a county lien.

In hindsight, rather than hop at the carrot when someone says if you don’t act now you won’t get as good a deal, we encourage district directors to be a bit more cynical when it comes to laying out public dollars.

We’re not suggesting public officials play Chicken Little, but we ask that they research proposals as carefully — even more carefully, since it’s not their money — as they would if they were spending their own money.

Maureen Robertson

Editor

Related posts:

  1. County lien puts RMWD solar project in jeopardy
  2. Delay for RMWD solar installation
  3. RMWD sees more delays with solar project
  4. RMWD OKs fee to reserve solar rebate
  5. RMWD solar projects scheduled for end-of-year completion

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Posted by Staff on Jun 6 2012. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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