2008-09-18 / Front Page

Water and sewer budgets approved

Water rates will not increase this year
By Sam Bari

Town Administrator Bruce Keiser announced at Monday's Town Council meeting that water and sewer service rates will not increase for the current fiscal year.

"However, the council will be meeting with our rate and study consultant to discuss water rate increases in the coming years that will be necessary to fund the debt service for the $6.2 million water bond," Keiser said. The bond was issued to fund the water treatment plant and the replacement of the water main on Narragansett Avenue last year.

Keiser said that the primary increases within the water and sewer utility budgets for the treatment plants and pump stations were for utilities like electricity and oil for heating the new plant.

Town property study

The Public Archeology Study survey of the town property at 44 Southwest Ave. resulted in the identification of 40 features from Native American activity. These features constitute a potentially significant archaeological site that will need to be considered as the planned undertaking moves forward.

Keiser said that at this time the only areas that could be developed on the site are areas that have already been disturbed.

Councilman Robert Sutton asked why the town doesn't make a commitment to sell the property. "We have no use for the property in the next twenty years," Sutton said. "We should get rid of it."

Keiser said that the town won't know if the offers will meet expectations of providing sufficient revenues to offset the water bond debt. "My recommendation is that we test the market and if offer prices are too low then the town may want to consider doing a phase two archeological study to further document the existence of Native American artifacts," Keiser said.

Sutton suggested that an easement should be put on the property in the front if the town is keeping the land for archeological significance. He said the town could then get an appraisal and sell it.

Town Council President Julio DiGiando said, "We don't want to use a real estate agent because it will cost us a commission. We should sell it ourselves for as much as possible. "

Keiser suggested welcoming offers brought to the town by local real estate brokers to get them involved. A motion was made to give the town administrator the freedom to negotiate the best price possible for the property. After some discussion, the motion carried with a unanimous vote.

Meeting structure

A decrease in the amount of business being discussed at the water and sewer meetings, particularly during the winter months, caused the council to roll water and sewer matters in with the second Town Council meeting each month. After a short discussion, the council decided to try starting the water and sewer meeting in October at 6 p.m., and start the regular Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. The motion carried with a unanimous vote.

Bike path designation committee

The town administrator volunteered to relinquish his vote on the bike path designation committee in favor of appointing three new members instead of just two replacement members.

The councilors voted for Nancy Logan, Susan Plowden, and Dave Burnell to fill the vacancies.

Town wells

The town wells are in service. They will be serviced and shut down for the winter during October.

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