Schweyer repeatedly has stressed in public meetings that he has not made up his mind about the issue. He said he is concerned about four issues: water quality and oversight to maintain that quality, protection for city employees who operate the water and sewer systems, protection for ratepayers and financial certainty for the city. “If the agreement does not make the grade in every one of those categories, I’m not voting for it,” he said. “It’s got to be more than just numbers.”
The remaining bidders are Aqua Pennsylvania, American Water, Lehigh County Authority, NDC Housing, United Water and Allentown Forward.
The Pawlowski administration and City Council are making public few details about the process, apparently concerned about jeopardizing negotiations. Most questions WFMZ has submitted to the administration have gone unanswered. Most council members also have not responded to them.
“We are still being as transparent as possible with the public on this issue,” said Guridy.
“We want to make sure we provide the best alternative to the city to maintain financial solvency and get rid of this unfunded pension liability. I prefer that we attack the total liability and not just the MMO." The MMO, or Minimal Municipal Obligation, is the minimum amount the city is required to pay toward its pension.
“I am cautious that if we raise taxes, we will lose a lot of investors and people in the city will suffer, especially those in a fixed income," Guridy continued.
“We have made great community development strides in the last 10 years and I don't want to set our city back. We are in a path of a renaissance and it would be beneficial for all of us to continue it.
“Now is not the time to go backward. We need to cautiously move forward and do the best we can for our residents, businesses, our region and our future generation and simultaneously provide the best quality service possible to the users.”