Water, Water, Everywhere in Mayoral Race

This morning we learned that Bill Thompson is $1,000 delinquent on his own water bills (Post, Page four, 4"-inch deep hedline: "H2OWE trouble for Bill" ). Okay, not a huge amount of money, but such debts don't inspire confidence in a would-be mayor.

Now, this afternoon, a much bigger water balloon comes sailing towards City Hall from Thompson: A pair of in-depth audits conducted by the city comptroller's office have found that the city's massive Croton Water Treatment Plant in the Bronx has quietly soared in cost by more than 100 percent and is so far behind that it won't meet a federally imposed deadline of October, 2011.

For a mayor who re-wrote the term limits law solely to make sure we don't lose his strong and competent hand on the city's economic tiller, this story also isn't much of a confidence builder.

The piece on Thompson's own water bills (payments have been, or are being made insisted his aides) follows yesterday's two-page Post spread on Andrea Peyser's interview with Thompson's second wife who -- shockingly -- is still mad at her ex.

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It's a good thing Mike Bloomberg is ahead of Thompson by 15 points. You hate to consider what they'd be dredging up if he was breathing down the mayor's neck.

As for the slight problems with the one of the largest public works projects since the Pyramids, Team Bloomberg insisted back in 2003 that the huge water treatment plant - - mandated by a federal consent decree to clean up local sources -- had to be built nowhere but Van Cortlandt Park, the jewel of the Bronx. They also pegged its cost at some $992 million. Thompson's audit says the current cost of contracts to date is $2.1 billion. No wonder Bronx assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, a long time foe of the project, today called it "the biggest boondoggle in the city's history." Photo (cc) Joe Schlabotnik.


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