News & Politics

Water, Water, Everywhere in Mayoral Race

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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.

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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