One vote could have stopped this. One vote could vote out one or more of the four who voted for. Thanks to Roger Marietta for fighting on.
Carlton Fletcher, Albany Herald, 15 March 2016, Albany city commissioners agree to Sabal Trail easement payment: Pipeline company to pay city $165,000 settlement for five easements,
The Albany City Commission voted 4-3 at a called meeting Tuesday morning to accept a $165,000 payment from Sabal Trail Transmissions for five easements on city-owned property.
Ward IV City Commissioner Roger Marietta suggested the city seek an extension to discuss the proposed agreement, but his motion to that affect died for lack of a second. The board voted to accept the settlement with Marietta and Commissioners Jon Howard and Bobby Coleman, who represent Ward I and II respectively, voting against.
Noting City Attorney Nathan Davis’ assessment that voting against the settlement would land the city in court to battle an eminent domain suit, which would require the testimony of paid experts, Mayor Dorothy Hubbard said, “Even if we went to court, we’d be in for a long, drawn-out battle that would end the same way.”
Did you even bother asking around for volunteer expert witnesses? Did you even notice that the state of Georgia hasn’t approved easements under the rivers, including the Flint? Did you even negotiate on price? Apparently not, since they story says they got the offer literally yesterday.
The story continues with various defeatest comments by those who voted for the easement, including this:
Ward III Commissioner B.J. Fletcher addressed Marietta’s concerns directly, saying, “Roger, we have discussed this more than just a day. I think a question we need to ask is what it would cost our taxpayers if we delay this.”
Bringing up new elements of arguments used by anti-pipeline activists before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Houston-based Sabal Trail’s certificate of necessity that allowed for construction of the 465-mile, $3.2 billion pipeline, Marietta said he was concerned about insurance needed by the city to cover the residents of a nearby trailer park in the event of an explosion at a planned compressor station that Sabal Trail will build.
“In the event of a disaster of that nature, the city would have no liability,” Davis said. “Granting an easement does not shift liability to the city.”
So Albany isn’t going to send fire or ambulance? Hospitals in the city aren’t going to treat the wounded?
Oh, but hey, Sabal Trail said it was OK:
Marietta then said taxpayers would have to pay the cost to train firefighters to handle the kinds of emergencies that arose from construction of the pipeline and compressor station, but City Manager Sharon Subadan noted that Sabal Trail had “early in this process told us that they will provide training” at no charge to the city.
And this seems backwards:
Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff noted that Sabal Trail did not grant the extension requested by Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas and called for a motion to accept the Sabal Trail offer. The board approved the settlement, which includes payment for easements on city-owned rail trail property in Terrell County and at the city’s Lily Pond Road utilities site, among other locations.
Why is a company from Houston, Texas determining timelines for the elected government of Albany, Georgia?