BELLOWS FALLS -- Backing off a proposal made months ago, village trustees voted Tuesday in favor an agreement to operate the Saxtons River wastewater treatment plant at a 3 percent increase per year.
Village President Nancy McAuliffe told the Reformer the board of trustees approved the terms that contracts employees of the Bellows Falls Wastewater Department to service the Saxtons River sewage treatment plant at 1 Plant Road that must be monitored every day. Louise Luring, the chairwoman of the Saxtons River Board of Trustees, attended Tuesday’s meeting in the Rockingham Town Hall Lower Theatre and will take the agreement to her board, which has to sign off on it before it goes to Municipal Manager Willis D. "Chip" Stearns II.
The Bellows Falls trustees had voted in March not to lower the proposed increase in interest from nearly 4 percent per year, but the new figure did not sit well with their counterparts in Saxtons River. McAuliffe said the interest per year has been set at 3 percent for the past nine years. Stefan Golec and Charlie Hunter are the only current trustees who were on the previous board that made the alternate rate (though Hunter made a motion to reduce it to 3.5 percent) and Luring said the new board reconsidered the decision not to accept 3 percent interest per year. She said the next meeting of the Saxtons River trustees is slated for 7:30 p.m. on June 16.
At a Bellows Falls trustees meeting on March 25, Luring said her village was not given any explanation for the spike in interest per year. Trustee Andrew Smith, who lost to McAuliffe in a bid for village president, said the treatment plant is a business and he believes his village’s expenses will steadily increase over the years.
When asked how he felt about the agreement, Stearns said he agrees with the 3 percent, which he said had been a pattern for nine years (worth a 27 percent increase in that time).
"Has it cost you 27 percent more in 10 years? I don’t think so," he said. "It’s fair and reasonable, in my mind, to keep it at 3 percent. That’s what I recommended before -- the board chose 4."
In other business:
-- McAuliffe said the trustees, at WOOL Radio’s request, waived the noise ordinance and open bottle ordinance for an event. However, the trustees agreed WOOL could afford to pay the $10 parade and open air event permit. McAuliffe said Hunter took a $10 bill and handed it to Village Clerk Kerry Bennett to cover the cost.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.