The political rhetoric against Barletta's plan to takeover the water department of the Hazleton City Authority is so disingenuos it begs correction.
One of the possible suitors, among many, Pennsylvania American Water, is a publicly traded company. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange with a symbol of AWK. A look at its 2008 annual report shows revenues which exceed $2 billion dollars. 7,000 employees serving 15 million people in 32 states and Ontario,Canada.
By comparison the Hazleton City Authority revenues are approximately $4-5 million.
Aqua Water Company is another business entity that has been mentioned in reports. Aqua Water trades on the NYSE with a symbol of WTR and annual revenues for 2008 of $627 million.
United Water is a third possible candidate. Under their facts and figures page annual revenues for 2007 were $800 million. They manage $2.5 billion in assets. HCA pegged their entire assets at $68 million. 2,600 employees serving over 7 million customers in 26 states. HCA Water Deparment- 40 employees in 1 state.
Hazleton City Councilman Jack Mundie stated the HCA is the best run authority in the state. While not being certain where the study was performed to back up that conclusion it is impossible to believe that companies acrruing over $3.5 billion in sales would perform any worse than an very small authority operation taking in $4-5 million.
Quelling the opponents on the water quality issue read this Consumer Confidence report from American Water at their Mount Laurel Treatment Facility.
Here is their history from 1886-1999.
The issue isn't whether it makes sense to sell the Hazleton City Authority's water department. The issue is Barletta. His opponents are so set to defeat him that any proposal would be fought and fought hard.
Chris Paige has attended two Hazleton City Council meetings. He talks about the property tax situation in Hazleton. While denying he is a Democratic operative where is his disgust with the $466 million in debt accrured by Luzerne County mismanagers? The law he cited does not apply to Hazleton and with a little research any first year law student would have reached that conclusion. Yet, Mocarsky over at the Times Leader couldn't wait to run with the story only to have the facts blow it right out of the water.
Under the Municipal Authorities Act of 1945 and a previous court case cited by SOP all it takes is a resolution of Hazleton City Council to order the Hazleton City Authority to divest itself of the water department and the plan can become a reality. However, keep in mind that this issue is still just a proposal with all options open.