I have been watching with some interest the continued expansion of the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment facility. In fact, in February 2011, I cautioned the decision-making relating to the facility, that expanding a public facility to accommodate a private industry could, or should, have its limits.
I questioned whether (or when) Fage would decide to process their own whey into a marketable product, thusly negating some of the reasons for the expansion of the waste facility. I questioned whether the constant expansion, at taxpayers expense, whether as user fees or grants, was the best use of those funds.
Quoting the previous letter, "At what point might Fage decide to build its own conversion facility? Is this a case of getting the taxpayer to fund the equipment to facilitate Fage's expansion until Fage reaches the necessary volume of whey to build its own facility, thereby pulling product away from the waste facility and again leaving it with excess capacity?"
Well, fast forward to November 2013, to a news release in a dairy industry newspaper wherein Fage USA Dairy Industry Inc. and Proliant Dairy have entered into a long-term agreement that will ultimately provide an outlet for the whey that is currently being produced at the Johnstown plant. Proliant will convert the liquid whey into a dry ingredient that is shelf-stable and would be used in feeds and foods all over the world.
If Fage and Proliant are successful in this venture, will not the wastewater treatment facility be over capacity for what is needed for other companies and cities that use it? How do taxpayers feel about subsidizing private industry in this fashion? Who is accountable in this scenario?
Why are there more questions than answers?
EARL F. SPENCER