Reader predicted Agrium's closure

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2005

I am surprised that so many borough officials did not realize that Agrium was really going to close. The evidence has been available for years. About three years ago, I even predicted it on these letter pages.

When Enstar opposed the renewal of the Phillips permit to continue exporting liquefied natural gas because of reduced gas supplies, I knew this was the death nell for Agrium. Reduced gas supplies meant natural gas prices were going to rise. Agrium already was up against tough competition for markets. Increased natural gas costs would price them out of the market place.

I predicted that unless some wondrous and extremely large new supplies of low-cost natural gas became available in Cook Inlet, Agrium would be closed within five years. It would make economic sense to Agrium to close the plant here, make a deal for Russian Far East abundant supplies, dismantle the plant here and set up shop at tidewater in Russia. Agrium management has a duty to their stockholders - not the Kenai Peninsula!

Now our current borough mayor has hired all these well paid people to be the big thinkers about the local economy and natural resources. What were they thinking? Obviously, they weren't looking at and thinking about the readily available facts.

Now what are the borough great thinkers going to do about the coming financial impact of the Agrium closing? The borough has expanded spending by assessing real property at ever higher prices to generate more tax income while holding the mill rate steady. Agrium's tax dollars will be gone. The high paid workers will start scrambling to sell their high-end homes in a market with few highly paid potential buyers. Prices are going to be greatly depressed. Assessments will be forced to decline. Borough revenue will decline. Who will be taxed to continue to pay for our expanded borough government?

Ask your assembly person what the borough great thinkers are going to do? All they are talking about now is ways to tax everyone more. I know what I would do, but I am not one of those high-paid great thinkers. It is time for them to earn that money.

William J. Phillips


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