Letter: Public was not given enough notice on sewer project
To the Editor:
I am a member of the Board of Finance — the board that gave the approval for the $48-million sewer project to appear on the ballot at its Aug. 21 meeting. I was absent from that meeting as I was out of the country.
Upon returning, I reviewed the minutes and discovered that the item was not on the published agenda and was handled as an add-on. I was troubled that an important matter was handled in that manner. The public would have no notice that this action was being considered.
The method used is allowable under the FOI regulations, so no technical violation, although I felt it was not in keeping with the spirit of the law.
A presentation was made outlining the general scope of the project, and emphasized necessity to act quickly to meet required deadlines. The motion passed 4-0.
I want to make one thing clear: I am not faulting the board for their decision given the circumstances. I know a question that could have been asked was how would I have voted.
Having some experience in the past with sewer expansions, and knowing that the public can be taken by surprise about costs and fees, I would have asked for a delay to schedule a special meeting to allow the public to weigh in.
The meeting could have been held in a timely manner and allowed the town to maintain its tight schedule.
On a personal level, I have many reasons to oppose the approval. The burden on taxpayers, the unfairness to those on the septic systems, the unanswered financial; and logistical problems. But as a board member, I feel that the public was not given enough opportunity to weigh in.
For those reasons, I will be voting “no” on question 12.