Mayor Francis Slay said today that a contract to help the City keep the quality of its water high and the cost low will be put on hold while his staff meets with several interested parties to hear their concerns, and to explain what the contract is and what it is not.
“The City of St. Louis now, in the near future, medium future, and far future will control every drop of water in the Water Division,” Mayor Slay said. “But, I understand there are constituencies who have other questions about the contract and its place in international politics or its potential impact on the environment. They deserve to have their questions answered and their concerns addressed.”
Comptroller Darlene Green wrote to Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed on January 16 asking that Mr. Reed “assign this issue to the appropriate Standing Committee to hold public hearings as soon as possible.” No hearing was scheduled or held.
So, the Mayor has assigned his Deputy Mayor of Operations, Eddie Roth, and his Sustainability Director, Catherine Werner, to meet with those groups who have expressed an opinion in favor or against the contract.
After an open and competitive process, a City selection committee chose Veolia for consulting advice on how the City can operate its Water Division more efficiently and in a more sustainable way, while preserving existing jobs and the high quality of the City's water. Veolia provides services to Israel that some Palestinians find objectionable. “As Mayor, I am focused on maintaining St. Louis water quality while improving our water operations. I am not in a position to referee difficult geo-political questions. But, I do believe people have a right to be heard.”
In the meantime, the Veolia matter has not been placed on the February 20 agenda of the Board of Estimate & Apportionment, and no formal action will be taken without ample advance notice to all interested parties.
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