PRESS RELEASE: CHATHAM SELECTMEN TELL TAXPAYERS TO GET LOST
Chatham Concerned Taxpayers issued this press release today.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 21, 2009
CHATHAM SELECTMEN TELL TAXPAYERS TO GET LOST
Chatham, Massachusetts – Last night Chatham selectmen refused to even look into an alternative plan that could save Chatham taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in cleaning up Chatham’s coastal waters.
Chatham has a plan in hand from the centralized sewer system specialist Stearns & Wheler for $340 million.
On September 22nd Chatham Concerned Taxpayers asked the selectmen, in the “exercise of their fiduciary duty to taxpayers” to look at decentralized systems such as are common elsewhere in the country that its investigations showed have the potential for saving up to half the cost of the proposed Stearns & Wheler system.
Mashpee has also received a hugely expensive estimate for a Stearns & Wheler centralized sewer system -- $550 million. But Mashpee went out and obtained an estimate from a provider of decentralized systems that will take care of the nitrogen problem for $250 million. As Mashpee’s man in charge said: “I’d be a fool not to look at a possible savings of $300 million.”
Not so for Chatham’s selectmen. They summarily voted NO 5-0 to looking at saving the kind of money for taxpayers that Mashpee is considering.
So Chatham taxpayers are facing the prospect of paying twice as much as they need to in property taxes to fix the town’s nitrogen problem. Would the alternative system do the job at far less cost, as claimed? Chatham taxpayers will never know, because the selectmen couldn’t be bothered with checking it out.
Chatham Concerned Taxpayers also announced to the Chatham selectmen last night that a coalition of officials and taxpayers across the Cape are joining together to demand increased state action on alternative systems because the costs of the centuries-old centralized sewer methods have escalated beyond reason. Citizens of Falmouth, Mashpee, Dennis, Orleans, Barnstable and Chatham have already indicated a readiness to band together. State Representative Matt Patrick is in the process of organizing a meeting with Secretary of Energy and the Environment Ian Bowles and top Department of Environmental Protection officials for the coalition.
Chatham is the only Cape town now rushing ahead to build a centralized sewer system which will cost the average property owner more than $55,000 in taxes and hook-up costs -- before adding interest and the inevitable cost escalation of a 20-year project.