Omaha has options in dealing with the EPA mandated $2 billion sewer-separation project. Unfortunately, Mayor Suttle has failed to lead to bring down the cost of this unfunded federal mandate.
And when AFP-Nebraska called the Mayor out for his lack of leadership, Suttle responded with immature deflection:
Omaha deserves better leadership from its Mayor.
When other municipalities across the country were faced with similar sticker shock, they took action.
- The city of Portland worked with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to negotiate a settlement and reduce the cost of their project
- Gloucester, Massachusetts negotiated an agreement with the EPA to extend the life of the project and reduce of the scope of the work, saving the city millions
- Chicago agreed to a settlement with the EPA that included the Department of Justice to reduce the cost and scope of their proposed sewer project
- The City of Memphis involved the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Attorney General in order to reach a settlement with the EPA to lowering the cost of their project
To date Mayor Jim Suttle has refused to follow the course of other cities across the US and sue the EPA to force a settlement and reduce the $2 billion price tag.
Mayor Suttle also has not attempted to negotiate with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the agency tasked with monitoring the project, in an effort to modify the plan agreed to in 2008.
Other cities have worked with their state environmental regulatory agencies, and some have sued the EPA in order to bring costs down.
Unfortunately for Omaha’s ratepayers Mayor Suttle has only offered a ‘toilet paper tax’ and press conferences. Mayor Suttle has failed to lead to find a better solution for Omaha.
Omaha’s ratepayers are facing yet another rate increase and all the Suttle Administration has done is deflect. It’s time for the Mayor to stand up for Omaha’s families and businesses and take action like mayors across the country have done.