Lately as we, the staff, continue to explore, pull the brush away from our line of sight, and attempt to define a specific course of action for the water and wastewater projects, I am reminded of another time. That time is when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated at a press conference in February 2002:
“Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.”
Trust me when I say the context in which Rumsfeld stated those words are not remotely similar to our water and wastewater projects. But they are similar to the essence of the associated uncertainties and unknowns by their very definitions. Attempting to peer into the fog known as the future, it is obvious that there are unknowns that need to be known, and there are unknowns that will never be known until the future becomes the present.
In the first paragraph, I used the word “knowledge” in context of uncertainty and this was for a very good reason. What we often considered knowledge is really just “belief.” Or as J. Dancy wrote, “Belief counts as knowledge only if it was acquired by a method that was…reliable.” Of course, one can argue the use of the word “reliable” but for now we’ll accept this statement. The gathering of facts and knowledge may seem straight forward, but it is not. History has shown that the knowledge agreed upon at certain times of our intellectual development was untrue. Examples include belief that the earth was the center of the universe or the earth was flat. Again, I’m not suggesting that the water and wastewater projects are trapped in a knowledge vortex and nothing is certain. I’m stating that assumed facts (which make up our core of knowledge) is not always clear and succinct. Along with the discussion of unknowns, there is the question of what we know or the knowledge we believe we possess. Are the knowledge and facts we are basing decisions on correct?
By their own success, the growth of CDF and fairlife has placed a great deal of importance, or weight, on making the correct choices based on the knowledge known today. Which prompted me to dust off the words of Rumsfeld again to help explain the apparent drawn out process all parties find themselves in each week. Everyone wants to make the right choice not only for today but for the next 25 years. The sheer number of unknowns have increased and with that comes pause and gaps to progress. We’ll get there and when we do, the goal will be to remove many of those unknowns and solidify our knowledge base.
REMEMBER, one last time, mark your calendars for the Joint Council, Planning Commission, and DDA meeting on Monday, December 12 at 6:00 PM. It will be held in the Heritage Center of the Community Services Building at 182 East Street. Note the start time will begin an hour earlier than regular council meetings.
This is my last memo for 2016. I want to wish everyone a wonderful Holiday Season and the best New Year. I know it’s not considered culturally sensitive or politically correct, but I do wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I also wish everyone of different faiths (or not) a joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New year as well. It’s also a perfect time of the year to embrace and celebrate what we have in common rather than dwell on the other. The human race has done some extraordinary things in our brief existence on this planet, so let’s all hug and “raise a glass of cheer”!
Have a safe weekend and we’ll all see each other Monday night at 6:00 PM at the Heritage Center of the Community Services Building.
No NEW information is available at this time. We are still waiting for CDF to respond to the city’s proposal options. PLEASE REVIEW MEMO OPENING COMMENTS.
LAST MEMO: CDF and fairlife have received two proposals from the city to review and provide comments and questions on the attributes of each. My expectation is they will provide me with their response tomorrow Friday or early next week. Once that is done, the Utility Advisory Committee will be brought together to discuss the options and weight in on what best fits Coopersville financially and functionally. As always, please contact me if you have any questions.
Water Project Phase I
No new updates at this time on the project itself. However, Keri Rogers and I have been discussing financing options not just on this Water Project, but also how best to maybe refinance another bond that that we have with a slightly higher percentage rate than what is currently available.