PLAINVILLE - The Town Council held a public hearing on more than $15 million of mandated water pollution control facility upgrades at Monday’s meeting.
Prior to a public hearing, Scott Colby, assistant to Town Manager Robert E. Lee, explained the project on behalf of the town clerk.
“This $15,761,000 project will cover the costs to design, construct and install an improved facility on 90 Cronk Road that will, among other things, reduce phosphorus levels,” said Colby.
The new building will be 6,500 square feet and bonds and notes will be issued to cover the town’s portion of the costs.
Lee has previously stated that the state will cover 30 percent of the project costs. The minimum sewer user fee which 50 percent of residents pay is $386.24. This upgrade will raise the fee by $18.
Several council meeting regulars weren’t happy with the state for mandating the upgrades. However, many understood that the town had no choice.
Resident John Kisluk praised the town for an informational public meeting held in November which he said convinced him that the project needed to be approved now. Otherwise, the town may lose out on reimbursement.
“I’m not happy with the state,” said Kisluk. “They went overboard on this and I think that if it is something this stringent they should pay for the whole thing.”
Joel Edman said he was not against the upgrades as they are mandated. Upon his questioning, Lee informed him that 11 communities in the state faced similar mandated upgrades.
“Bristol has completed theirs and Southington is in the middle of theirs,” said Lee.
Resident Arthur Screen said he wishes the council could tell the state “screw you” and not pay for the project.
“We removed nitrogen and now we’re removing phosphorus - what’s next?” he asked. “Is making the fish a little more comfortable really worth $15 million?”
Resident Joanne Edman asked if money could be taken from the unassigned fund balance to cover costs.
“The people are being squeezed to death,” she said.
Town Council Chair-woman Kathy Pugliese said the water pollution control facility is separately funded.
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