To the Editor:
New Britain residents have been protesting the sale of the Patton Brook Well for almost a year. Despite repeated concerns about the lack of an appraisal, no competitive bid and water shortages, Mayor Stewart said the well was an unusable surplus resource and directed that it be sold. Now, after paying the MDC almost a half million dollars for needed water, the truth comes out.
The Patton Brook Well sale was proposed and pushed through the City Council while Mayor Stewart’s administration was, as Water Board minutes show, fully aware of a drought alert. Remember, the director of the Water Department was Mayor Stewart’s leading spokesperson for the sale and all Water Board members are appointed by the mayor. Their reports and minutes are submitted to City Hall for review, so unless staff in the mayor’s office failed to talk to the director or read the minutes, the mayor’s office had to know about the pending drought conditions. That the City Council was not advised of the drought conditions, while considering the sale of the well, is appalling.
As many others have said, and I agree, water resources should not be for sale. Three Council Democrats - Black, Sanchez and Carlozzi - and one republican - Sanders - opposed the sale last year. Thank you for your good judgment.
Alderman Carlozzi is right in working in a bi-partisan way to rescind the ill-advised sale, but I would not be surprised if the underlying reason for the Republican’s surprising change of heart has more to do with election year polling showing widespread disapproval of the sale, than it does with any new-found realization that it is bad public policy.
Events like this one should cause voters to re-evaluate this mayor’s administrative ability and judgment and the need for a more independent City Council.