Compost facility plan must be responsible to the Green in our budget as well as Planet Earth

Dear Editor:

The proposed Compost facility plan must be responsible to the Green in our budget as well as Planet Earth.

The project’s hypothesis is that the waste-to-energy plant on the 10 acres of Bixby Park will be less expensive than shipping waste elsewhere.

Let’s stand together and protect the integrity of this evaluation by making sure that the City’s enthusiasm for being Green doesn’t ignore the green of the budget.

The City staff is diligently working on the analysis, and we need to be certain a few simple principles are followed:

1. The City’s cost of preparing the ten-acre site must be fully accounted for.

2. State law requires that the use of City property and resources be compensated at fair market value. The feasibility study must include a lease payment for the ten acres based on the fair market value of a $100 million valuation at a commercial market interest rate.

3. While Bixby Park was used as a dump, the Refuse Enterprise Fund paid “rent” to the Parks fund. That ended, so now each day that the Compost project delays the conversion to Park Land must be accounted for as a start-up cost of the project. This is simple accountability.

4. The City costs, as described, will be matched with savings from not having to pay to have the waste to a regional facility.

Palo Alto needs to quickly quantify the above items and have them clearly stated in the request for proposal (RFP).

If the above reasonable expectations cause our Green inspirations to be in the red, then we need to move on and get our waterfront ready for the recreational destiny that has been held in check for 50 years.

Timothy Gray (Candidate for Palo Alto City Council)