Friday, October 4, 2019

During a recent interview on WHQR, there were some comments made that may need a little clarification.  So here we go.

1.   The comment was made by the interviewer that this is a website for the election campaign.  This blog was started in January 2019 to provide information an opinion relative to clean water and H2GO.  It is not a website for the election campaign.  However, we are completely in favor of Hosmer and Laub, and make no secret of it.  They are the ones for clean, safe water.  Hosmer and Laub actually care about the local area.

2.   No candidate for H2GO (Bradley/Gerken/Hosmer/Laub), has made any entry in this Blog

3.  There is a comment in this blog about a commissioner being a 'Waterboy'.  Other, similar terms have also been used.  And, various comments in this vein have been made by numerous people, and it is the general belief among many.  The Port Ciry Daily (Nov 25, 2019) perhaps puts it more succiently as follows: "Absent of evidence of these claims, Gerken's actions do appear to be in line with Leland's interests.  On separate occasions, he has introduced resolutions and discussion topics that advocate for curtailing H2GO's growth."

4.  WHQR stated that the bloc referred to the commissioner as "looking down on Compass Point" and other Communities.  I could not find that remark, but then again, maybe a better phrase would be that he looks at certain other communities with "Distain."
     This Blog did say that his news release threw Certain communities under the bus.  And that still seems to be the case upon rereading the news release. As well as other comments that have been made by the current Chairman.

This is a wonderful area of the world.  This blog and anyone associated are dedicated to its improvement and working with others that want this to be the best it can possibly be.  Cleaning up the drinking water is a significant first step.


Monday, July 29, 2019

This is the last portion of the news release from the opposition.  Paragraphs 7, 8, and 9.  We hope that our comments have been useful to you.


PARAGRAPH 7:
Gerken stated “John Bradley and I, along with Bill Beer (who currently sits on the board) will put our energy into thoughtful, sensible measures to set the region’s course for clean, contaminant-free, cost effective, and responsibly managed water and sewer services for the entire north Brunswick region.”

Comment;  I guess that is one way to state that you are a waterboy for the town of Leland, and want to cripple H2GO. Their purpose is to destroy H2GO and its ability to best serve the area, and provide clean, safe drinking water, at zero rate increase.

PARAGRAPH 8:
“Let’s not forget, the ill-conceived plan hatched by former H2GO commissioners Browning and Antos and current Commissioner Jenkins, to sell H2GO and all its assets for $10 to the Town of Belville, with Mayor Allen’s full endorsement and assistance.  They all were found to have engaged in illegal activities in this sale, and the Court’s recent judgment to return the assets to H2GO is unequivocal. Indeed, the Court found “oppressive and manifest abuse of their discretion.” The “Clean Water Team” was right on board with them.

Comment: The plan to transfer assets has saved H2GO and stymied the plans of the current commissioners to cripple H2Go and to scrap $10million dollars already spent.  Throwing $10 million in the trash seems to be extremely wasteful to most people.  
Interesting how this news release tries to tie the Clean Water Team in on this, when the Clean Water Team did not even exist in 2017.  Again, a typical attempt to blame others.


PARAGRAPH 9:
The fact that Belville is still trying to manipulate the next election of H2GO board members through their endorsement of Laub and Hosmer has been documented by Mayor Allen’s statement that, by appealing the ruling, the election will be held before the return of H2GO assets will take place. Is this how we want our water and sewer utility to be managed? Will you stand by while your vote is disenfranchised? Are you in favor of a power grab by the people who are the most ill-equipped to handle the management of our utility? Most of the Town of Leland residents represent the overwhelming customer base for the utility – not Belville, not Compass Pointe. Leland residents stand to lose a voice in the operation of this vital utility.  We can’t let that happen,” said Gerken.

Comment: The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!  An Attempt at scare tactics.  Local voters are smart enough to see through these comments about attempts at manipulation.

Comment:  The last statement completely throws Belville, Compass Point, Old Leland, and other non-Leland residents under the bus.  It clearly shows the intention of Gerken and Bradley to do whatever their ‘leaders’ in the Town of Leland want.  This is evidenced by several attempts in the past 2 years to cripple H2GO in favor of the Town of Leland.  Do you want a commissioner that looks down on you with distain and contempt?

ADDITIONAL COMMENT:
If you notice, in the entire new release.  These Candidates do not express any concern about the health and safety of the local citizens, nor the economic impact that the GENX/PFAS/PFOA/Dioxane crisis has had on our most vulnerable users (Children, Women of child bearing age, those with compromised immune problems, pets).  Northern Brunswick County needs someone that cares any puts the needs of H2GO and its users first.  That would be Hosmer and Laub.  Hosmer and Laub are highly qualified, honest, care about their fellow citizens, and have the vision to understand the needs of this area. 

Press Contact: Jeff Gerken, jdgerken49@gmail.com, 614-886-1778

Note: In order to ensure accuracy, if editing this release, you are kindly asked to notify the Contact of any changes to this message before printing.  Your assistance is much appreciated. JG
Here is Paragraph 5 of the candidate announcement from the opposition with comments.  It is longer, and deserves its single entry.



PARAGRAPH 5:
Bradley added, “RO is coming thanks to the County  – that’s a given. Operation is scheduled to begin in December 2021. There is absolutely no truth to the Clean Water Team’s statement that the only guaranteed contaminant-free RO water is water from the deep saline aquifers. Neither Laub nor Hosmer can cite substantive, corroborative evidence to make such a statement. For the record, let’s also debunk their repeated assertion that aquifer RO water will be cheaper to produce than water derived from the Cape Fear River.  Raftellis, H2GO’s financial consultant for their RO plant, originally reported that the cost difference between the RO aquifer sourced water versus continuing to buy water from the County was negligible.  What changed?  Long before the GEN-X  and PFAS’ revelation, enter H2GO’s Executive Director Walker, who desperately wanted to deliver on his promise to get H2GO ‘out from under the thumb of the County’ and who needed to change the consultant’s finding to suit his purpose. We all know you can make numbers tell you exactly what you want them to by changing assumptions.”

Comment: Brunswick County is going to have RO polishing at its Water treatment plant.  We applaud them and their efforts.  They are committed to performing their sworn duties. However, this comment by Bradley indicates an effort to abdicate the responsibility of H2GO in watching out for the best interests of its customers.

Comment.  Bradley tries to imply the Hosmer and Laub do not state the truth.  This is to put it mildly, a lie. The aquifers have ZERO Industrial Contamination (No GENX, No PFAS, No Dioxane, etc).  Start with a clean source, and you do not have the contamination problem.  Water through an RO using uncontaminated water as its source is the “Glod Standard” for drinking water.  The treated water from the Cape Fear River will not be completely contaminant free from the industrial chemicals, even though the levels will be vastly reduced.

Comment:  The Water from the AQUIFERS WILL BE cost effective.  For H2GO Customers, there will be a Zero rate increase in the drinking water rates, when using the aquifer based system.  Compared to a 40% rate increase from the county when their system comes on line.  The comments about problems with the Raftelis report is purely an effort to mislead the public, and completely disingenuous by the Anti-Clean Water crowd. 
COMMENTS: Executive Commissioner Walker did not change any of the report, and it is slanderous to make this statement.  Again, another transparent indication of the contempt Gerken shows to those who do not hold his distorted opinions.
Comment: Yes it is correct that numbers can tell you exactly what you want them to be by changing assumptions.  See this prime example by an ‘analysis’ by Gerken where he adjusted numbers to match his assumptions.

GERKEN RESPONSE TO RAFTELLIS ANALYSIS.  Quoted-nothing in the Gerken ‘analysis’ changed, done 2017, and bragged about forever.  The Gerken analysis is below in red.  The Raftellis analysis, which was quote extensive, and the same firm used by Brunswick County in their analysis, and 50Plus other cities is available upon request.

This analysis compares the results of the financial analysis of the reverse osmosis plant that was prepared by Rafetlis Financial Consultants (RFC) and presented to the H2GO board of commissioners in a workshop in June of 2016 to an updated analysis using the same basic methodology, but with the more recent estimate of the consumption in FY 2018, as documented in the 2018 budgedt, the known wholesale price in FY 2018, and the debt service costs that were included in the financing details in the July board meeting.
·  The 2018 H2GO budget shows water purchase cost from the County at $1,820,000.  Dividing that figure by the known County rate of $2.82/kgal results in estimated purchase of 645,390 kgal.
o RFC had estimated 654,620 kgal in 2018, which they then escalated by 3.7% per year to 703,958 kgal in 2020, the first year in which all of the water would be produced by the ROP if the plant were built.
o The lower estimate of 2018 gallons produced in my analysis, escalated by the same 3.7%, results in a total of 694,032 kgal in 2020.
·  The BC rate estimated by RFC for FY 2018 was $2.90/kgal, which was then escalated by 1.7 % per year to $2.95 in 2019 and $3.00 in 2020.
o As noted above, the actual rate for FY 2018 is $2.82 per kgal, which escalates to $2.87 in 2019 and $2.92 in 2020, if you assume RFC's rate of escalation of 1.7% per year.
§ Note here that BC's rate in 2015 was $2.82 per kgal, which then dropped to $2.80 in 2016, to $2.74 in 2017, and then rose to $2.82 for FY 2018.  In other words, the actual escalation rate over the last three years was 0.0%.
·  Raftelis points out that under H2GO's assumptions regarding the growth of water usage, the needed production at peak demand will outgrow the capacity of the RO plant by 2031.  They state that H2GO plans to handle this via an Aquifer Storage and Recovery system, but I do not see any provision for paying for that system.  In the NPDES permit application, H2GO asks for permission to build another 4-million gallon per day plant to handle the increased demand.  Building another plant would incur roughly twice the expense of the current plans, since virtually everything would need to be duplicated. 

·  RFC shows the crossover point, the time at which producing their own water becomes less than the cost of buying it from the County, as occurring in 2025.  Further analysis, however shows that the true break-even point, when the higher costs in the first years are finally balanced by the savings in the latter years, comes in 2030.  No company would ever base a huge decision like this on cost projections that are so close in magnitude and so far away in time.
·  The RFC report shows the Net Present Value of building the ROP over the 22-year period to be $3.2 million in favor of the project.  That's only about $145,500 per year, within the noise.
·  RFC showed debt service running at around $1,522,000 per year, totaling $29,494,761.  With the increased costs that were discussed at the last meeting, and the change in financing, the actual debt service will now run around $1,678,000 per year and total $33,926, 379.  That's an increase of around $4,425,000.
·  Putting the new debt service figures into the model now shows the crossover in 2027, and the true break-even point in 2036, six years later than RFC's date.
·  And finally, the NPV of the RO project is now $745,816 in favor of continuing to buy finished water from the County.  I was trying to make this point at the last meeting, but Executive Director Walker kept telling me all about the things that I had not considered in my analysis - even though he had never seen my analysis.

Comment: I find in this report, which I would classify as equivalent to a high school paper and grade a B+ is in no way the equivalent of the Extensive analysis performed by Raftellis.  Also, please note, Gerken is trying to put a dollar value on the health and safety of you and your family.  Please contact us if you would like to review the Raftellis report from real experts.  And again, notice there is no indication of any concern of health and safety.