Sewer Commissioner says Article 19 will not create a sewer "district"
To the Editor:
This letter to the voters, sewer rate payers and taxpayers of the Town of Wareham is for clarification of Article 19, a Citizens Petition to amend the Act Enabling Elected Sewer Commissioners in the Town of Wareham.
This amendment will not create a “District” or alter in any way the Town’s authority or ownership over the Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) as a department of the Town of Wareham.
This petition article was initiated, reviewed, and is supported by 4 of the 5 current Sewer Commissioners. This is not the single action of one member of the Board of Sewer Commissioners. It was a collaborative effort to address the difficulties and delays the Sewer Commissioners have encountered in the performance of their duties to the rate payers as stewards of the Enterprise Fund and as duly elected Sewer Commissioners answerable to the voters.
Further, it was agreed upon, by a majority of the members of the Board of Sewer Commissioners to present this amendment as a Citizens’ Petition insuring placement on the Spring Town Meeting Warrant. This allows the voters at Town Meeting to decide the merits of the article in total transparency. We sought the advice of the Massachusetts Ethics Commission in drafting and presenting this article. The Sewer Commissioners are in receipt of a letter stating their approval.
The WPCF will continue, as it has always been, to be a department of the Town, subject to all the provisions of Town Charter and Town Meeting. These provisions, as set forth in Town Charter include, but are not limited to, continued control, authority and oversight by the Board of Selectmen and the Town Administrator of salaries, benefits, insurance, labor negotiations, contracts, inter-municipal agreements, labor relations, the hiring and firing of town and WPCF employees, as well as review and oversight of all bills associated with the WPCF, etc.
It will have no financial impact on the Town tax rate or the sewer user fees. In no way does it seek or is it the intent of the current Sewer Commissioners, myself included, to get involved with the day to day business of the WPCF. That is, and will remain, in the hands of the Town Administrator and the current Director of the Water Pollution Control Facility.
Funding for the WPCF will continue, as currently constructed, funded by the sewer Enterprise Fund by means of sewer user fees, betterments, septage fees, etc. The WPCF Enterprise Fund will continue to pay “Indirect” and “Direct” costs to the Town of Wareham’s general fund for services and employee benefits provided by the Town on behalf of the WPCF.
What it will do is change the manner in which the elected Board of Sewer Commissions are allowed to perform their sworn duties and responsibilities, as a Town of Wareham elected Board, to the rate payers, taxpayers and the voters of the Town of Wareham.