2007-06-14 / Front Page

Keiser says state has faulty information on island water

By Tom Shevlin

Town Administrator Bruce Keiser responded to the town's designation as non-compliant by the Water Resources Board by describing concerns over the town's water supply as "overkill" and adding that "the punishment doesn't fit the crime."

In his report to the Town Council on Monday, Keiser downplayed the seriousness of the non-compliant designation and took issue with the water board's data. According to Keiser, the town's shortfalls are "relatively easy data items to be addressed and some of the concerns raised by the Water Resource Board are factually inaccurate." Specifically, Keiser pointed to the reported 38- percent increase in population cited by the state. According to Keiser, that number was arrived at inaccurately by applying incorrect data from a 1999 report to more accurate figures reached in the town's most recent assessment. Keiser also took issue with the state's assertion that there has been widespread concern over the quality of water in the Jamestown Shores. Keiser insisted that there had been "no reports of poor water quality in the shores whatsoever," and that the claims have "no factual basis whatsoever."

Councilman William Kelly asked if there were any reports on the state level that include complaints regarding water quality in the shores. Keiser replied that no such information could be found in any reports and that it was "puzzling" that the board staff would cite information not found in any reports he had seen. Kelly remarked that he was "very disconcerted that this type of information is floating around."

Councilwoman Barbara Szepatowski asked Keiser to invite Water Resources Board General Manager Juan Mariscol to the next meeting of the Water and Sewer Committee in order to further understand the board's decision. Keiser agreed and said he also planned to attend the Resources Board's meeting on June 12.

Keiser touched on preparations for the upcoming Tall Ships Festival. According to Keiser, island residents should expect this year's event to equal the 2000 parade of sail with tens of thousands of offisland visitors expected during the festival. Describing the expected traffic problems as a "significant issue" Keiser said that the town is looking into setting up centralized parking venues at the Lawn Avenue and Melrose Avenue schools, as well as the possibility of implementing a shuttle service. In addition, the town has secured a commitment of 20 National Guard members to be stationed throughout the island as well as emergency personnel from Exeter and Scituate.

The Tall Ships Festival, which is expected to be a boon for the local economy also comes at a cost to the town. According to Keiser, in 2000, the town incurred a cost of approximately $21,000 during the last Tall Ships festival for police and DPW overtime. This year, the town has reached out to Rep. Bruce Long and Sen. Teresa Paiva Weed for supplemental funding. At the time of the meeting, the town had received an initial commitment of $7,000 from the state, however additional funding is currently being sought.

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