Letter: Sewer rate studies are too little, too late

The existing Wastewater Treatment Facility on South Street.

The existing Wastewater Treatment Facility on South Street.

To the Editor:

I am dismayed by the catch-up information campaign, and now proposed studies, to identify ways to reduce the 60 percent hike in sewer rates. Recent articles state the need to upgrade 30-year-old equipment and to cover charges to meet changes in state-mandated effluent limits. Sure, that all makes sense.

But none of this was a surprise. This project represents the single largest infrastructure outlay for this town in decades. This should have been our first selectman’s top priority, especially considering that he sits on the WPCA board also. Planning and communication should have been done way out in front of where we are now.

Already, the South Street work bids are coming in 15-plus percent over estimates. Why? Will this be the trend for the remainder of the project? If so, rates will possibly rise more than 60 percent when this is all over. One estimate expects rates to double over five years.

And of course, there is the issue of levying fees based on usage, which seems fair to many. But the changes to do that would be too expensive, we are told. So at least, are the charges proposed for single residences appropriately proportional to what large commercial facilities will pay? So many questions.

Taxpayers are disgruntled and still looking for answers and it is easy to understand why.

Robert Lavelle

Aspen Mill Road, Sept. 30