It’s almost time for the Orleans Town Meeting
May 9th – 6:00 p.m. – NRMS Gym
In preparation for this community event the Orleans Pond Coalition would like to bring the following items to your attention.
A Town Meeting review letter from Orleans Select Person, Andrea Reed
Andrea Reed on Environmental Progress:…. ‘I strongly support (the articles for wastewater and budget question) and hope we pass.’
Wastewater Progress: Articles 18 & 19/Ballot Question 2
Article 18 Sewer Assessment General Bylaw defines how we measure, assess and charge for components of the system as a whole. It codifies how Orleans defines a sewer unit, sets uniform measurement standards and a betterment policy for both Phases One (downtown) and Two (Meetinghouse Pond).
In 2008 voters supported our Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP), which included a financing plan where taxpayers would pay 80% and those connected to the sewer would pay 20%. This was shown to balance costs of either being on the sewer or maintaining one’s septic system over its lifetime.
Over subsequent years discussion at the Select Board level has explored multiple other financing options – including one for Downtown where property owners connected to the sewer would pay for the collection system, and taxpayers would pay for the treatment and disposal systems. That, in fact, did work out to about an 80/20 split. However, when including Meetinghouse Pond, this system of dividing costs proved to be inherently unfair because Phase 2 is only putting pipes in the ground. Those connected would have to pay 100% of the cost.
Putting Phases 1 and 2 together then required going back to the “drawing boards”. Select Board, Water & Sewer Commission, staff and consultants evaluated multiple options, ultimately deciding on the 80/20 split – the most fair for the most people.
Article 19 asks approval to finance roughly $33 million to construct the sewer collection system to serve the Meetinghouse Pond area – Phase 2 of our ongoing challenge to clean up our bays and ponds. It is absolutely necessary that we vote to approve this in order to keep our place in the schedule of grants and 0% funding.
It is informative to look at the larger picture: Putting Phases 1 and 2 plus all the previous wastewater costs together amounts to about $100 million. When the multiple grants, short-term rental taxes and betterment payments are all figured in, taxpayers are left to pay about $25 million of that $100 million – and that should be at 0% interest. Each time we move forward with feasibility, design or construction of our wastewater system, we keep the good faith and financial benefits that have resulted in Orleans receiving zero interest loans, matching funds and grants to do what we must do anyway.
To read Andrea’s full message on all of our town’s upcoming warrants, please click the button below:
The Orleans Citizens Forum in-person event:
May Town Meeting
Wastewater Warrants and a Budget Override
What do we need to know?
Thursday, April 28, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Church of the Holy Spirit
204 Monument Road, Orleans
After more than two years, the Orleans Citizens Forum is back with an in-person event. We will host a May Town Meeting review on April 28. There are several critical articles on the warrant and a proposal for a budget override. Key wastewater issues relate to funding the sewering of the Meetinghouse Pond area and the betterment and tax policy to pay for the new system. Our knowledgeable panel will address these issues and answer questions.
Speakers for the April 28 forum will include:
Meff Runyon, Chair, Orleans Select Board
Alan McClennan, Chair, Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners
John Kelly, Orleans Town Administrator
Judy Schumacher, Vice Chair, Nauset Regional School Committee
Lynn Bruneau, Chair, Orleans Finance Committee
Face masks are encouraged.The Orleans Citizens Forum is a volunteer, independent. non-partisan organization that provides public forums on topics important to the quality of life.
To see the entire announcment from the Orleans Citizens Forum about their upcoming in-person event on key wastewater issues, please click the button below:
Please remember to mark your calendars for the Orleans Annual Town Meeting on Monday, May 9th at 6:00 p.m. We at the OPC look forward to seeing you there!