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Tom Williams: Ironhouse Paid 1/2 of Sponsorship

I wanted to provide an update on my article yesterday as the Antioch Chamber informed me that Ironhouse Sanitary District (ISD) paid $2,500 on the EC² The Collaborative.  Now, General Manager of ISD Tom Williams sent me an email around 5:00 pm yesterday stating they only paid $1,250.

According to his email, this was done under “my authority as General Manager”.  Here is his full email response below:

ISD funded $1,250 (1/2 of a sponsorship) for this event and was approved by me under my authority as General Manager.  As ISD is looking to sell its highly treated water to help offset rates in the future, I see this as an opportunity to promote and spread the word to possible users about ISD’s recycled water asset in Oakley; and offer a tour of the new ISD Water Recycling Facility to conference participants.  Also, I see this collaborative as an important effort to try and bring focus on our area assets (East Contra Costa…not just ISD) so that we can hopefully, as a region, encourage  companies to locate in this area and bring with them sustainable jobs.

So now we have the Antioch Chamber telling me one thing and Ironhouse telling me another. The truth is, the figure doesn’t really matter because ISD should not be sponsoring an out of district event like this. They especially shouldn’t be sponsoring this event when Delta Diablo Sanitation District is already a sponsor.

In the name of fairness, the ISD Board gets a pass on this one, but Tom Williams should not. His justification is pretty weak as he doesn’t even explain how this event will bring business to the area, instead, he talks about selling water and a tour.

If the region was serious about encouraging companies, you wouldn’t be taking ratepayer money to hold a forum that Ironhouse. The stakeholders would get together and figure out a regional plan and invest in some branding and marketing to businesses.

More to the point, Ironhouse has been a bottleneck in Oakley for new business and home development–the Board is responsible for this  This is proven in the new connections each year that have decreased the more rates have gone up.

If ISD wants to get new business to Oakley, they further need to reduce rates, make it easier on applicants, and provide a tiered pricing based on different types of business–it’s not a one size fits all price model as a barber shop will use less water/services than say a restaurant.

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4 Responses »

  1. Cost doesn’t matter; Tom Williams shouldn’t have approved this. It’s our money, not his. I like your solutions on actually growing business, not just talking about it. If Mr. Williams wants to promote this recycled water to people, he might want to start with the farmers, not this event.

  2. I applaud you for issuing the correction, but you should have waited until Tom responded before posting yesterday. Saying that, good work on bringing attention to this. Tom Williams should be held accountable for his actions and given his email, I’d demand more answers from him as to just how selling water promotes business in East County.

  3. Mr. Williams needs a lesson in how not to spend other peoples money so poorly. What a joke!

  4. Point of clarification from the Antioch Chamber of Commerce in behalf of EC²: The Collaborative. General Manager Tom Williams is correct in the amount of sponsorship for The Collaborative from ISD at $1250.

    EC² is a regional collaboration of the Cities, Chambers, County, and Special Districts of East Contra Costa County. Our goal is to create regional Economic Development to make East Contra Costa County recognized for innovation, development, environmental stewardship and job creation. Our belief is that a job created in East Contra Costa is a benefit to the entire region. The Collaborative is focusing on strengths and infrastructure that create a regional economic competitive advantage. In regard to Oakley specifically, EC² has already highlighted the available land and resource of The DuPont Property, the available land surrounding ISD and its proximity to ISD’s highly usable quality treated recycled water, and the potential for East Contra Costa to build on its the tremendous agricultural opportunities for growth. Oakley residents, representatives of business, elected officials and the Oakley, Chamber of Commerce participated in the EC² summit.

    EC²: The Collaborative event was captured by Contra Costa TV and will be televised at 9 PM on Oct 16 and 10 AM on Oct 17. Please plan to watch the event for yourself and determine whether this regional movement has the potential to benefit us all. Thank you.

    Dr. Sean Wright

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