NOVATO – A controversial plan to outsource jobs of a Bay Area water agency under investigation by the EPA to an international French water company – which has a record of environmental violations around the U.S. – should be delayed, according to a report to be released Monday by a prominent land use non-profit organization.
A NEWS CONFERENCE will be held Monday (July 27) at 5:30 p.m. behind the Margaret Todd Senior Center, 1560 Hill Road, Novato. to unveil the report and increasing opposition to the plan.
The Novato Sanitary District – meeting at the same location at 6:30 p.m. – is expected to finalize contract negotiations Monday with Veolia Water – only a week after announcing details to ratepayers and the public.
More than 100 people opposed to the plan attended a hearing last week at a NSD meeting where loud voices of opposition pointed to the lack of transparency by the district, and concerns the outsourcing would cost jobs, lead to sewage spills and rate increases.
Only those who work for the NSD, its contractors and Veolia Water supported the plan.
Labor, environmental groups and a citizens group in Novato all cautioned the board of the NSD to exercise caution and to delay any final vote for at least 30 days so that all interested parties, including ratepayers, can study the details.
Monday the board will also be asked to postpone a decision until a review is conducted on Veolia’s past water violations, the qualifications of its personnel and whether the board should accept the recommendations of its own staff after a recent FBI/EPA raid and ongoing probe that may involve misdeeds by the NSD staff.
The move to “out-source” or privatize local jobs to foreign company will lead to higher sewer rates for Novato citizens, loss of local control and pollution in the Novato wetlands and San Francisco Bay, according to Alliance of Concerned Citizens of Novato (ACCN).