Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Winchester to move forward with wastewater treatment plant upgrades

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff

WINCHESTER — Town officials still plan to move forward with some upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant, despite voters’ rejection of a bond last month to complete repairs.
Wastewater Superintendent Richard Meleski said last week his department is looking into using some of its capital reserve money to fund a few of the smaller projects included in the third and final phase of upgrades. Those projects include cleaning and filming the sewer collection system on the north end of town, having a comprehensive report done on that system, and possibly having a new rubber membrane roof put on the building housing the facility’s main operations center and offices, he said.
“We’re going to try to follow through with a few projects ourselves,” he said. “We’re currently looking into getting some prices, and we’ll see how it goes from there.”
Meanwhile the rest of the upgrades will remain on hold until next year, said Selectmen Chairman Kenneth Gardner.
“At that point, we’ll see if we still have the funding through the federal government, and we’ll make a determination then,” he said.
That federal funding, which is a low-interest loan, comes with a smaller state match, and is distributed through the N.H. Department of Environmental Services’ Clean Water State Revolving Fund to communities with eligible projects.
Work included in the third phase of the project was part of the original design to upgrade the 30-year-old plant, and it needs to be done at some point, Gardner said.
“Is it required by the state? No, but it is part of the original design, which makes the plant more efficient,” he said.
Besides the roof replacement and sewer collection system inspection, the third phase also included improvements to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, installing a station to receive sludge delivered to the plant, upgrading the well water system and laboratory equipment, and getting covers for the clarifiers that treat wastewater coming into the plant.
A warrant article seeking approval for the $1.48 million project failed to get the 60 percent majority it needed to pass on March 12. If the article was approved, selectmen would have been allowed to borrow the money, and the town would have applied for state and federal funding, which would forgive half of the loan.
Meleski said with selectmen’s approval, his department hopes to have the warrant article placed on the ballot again next year.
Many of the projects listed in the third and final phase were included in the first two upgrades, but were only to be done if funds were available, which they weren’t, Meleski said. Completing those projects would help prolong the life of the repairs already made to the plant, and help it run more efficiently, he said.
The first phase of upgrades, approved by voters in March 2009 with a $3.4 million bond, are wrapping up, he said. The second phase is expected to begin in late summer, he said. Voters approved $500,000 in March 2010 after town officials learned the $3.4 million wasn’t enough.


Anonymous said...

This is why I say vote "NO" to most the warrant articles, They will find the money elsewhere without using more of our tax money.
Cruisers, Firetrucks, Backhoe everything. When voters say no thank you, they are still able to find the money in the so called rock bottom budgets anyways.
Hopefully this will be a learning lesson for voters next March.

Anonymous said...

Another reason why the Budget Committee needs to get their collective heads out of their derrieres and start trimming the fat out of all of these dept. budgets, so our taxes go down to a manageable level and make a statement that NO MEANS NO. The other solution is to send all these big spenders packing and clean house once and for all.

hold them accountable you fools said...

This just goes to show that there's just too much "extra" cash floating around in the budget and stop things like this from happening. There is no need to give more money to the same company over and over again every time they under bid just to get the job. They all need to be held accountable and tow the mark; otherwise we taxpayers keep getting screwed.

Anonymous said...

We cant control what the budget committee does but we can vote no on warrant articles, Just cant get enough voters educated on what they are voting for.
What seems odd is it must be the people who have plenty of money are the ones showing up in March to vote and the ones claiming poverty and cant pay their taxes or mortgages are staying home, This seems to be the only way to make sense of our voting record.

Kiss A-- said...

DONT expect anything from the mostly hand picked budget committee, they bring kiss A-- to a brand new level.

Why Bother said...

If I read the BOS Minutes correctly, the new police cruiser was ordered before we voted on it. Another example of how this town is run. Voting appears to be a waste of time in Winchester. The WWTP upgrades need to be done, its the underhanded way we do business that makes you wonder, WHY BOTHER?

crooked as a snake said...

Yup, that was a given by the BOS long before the warrant was placed on the ballot. Bet they didn't even bother garnering 25 signatures of registered voters as required by law either. Might as well just throw out the rules and regulations and tear up the Town Charter while were at it, none of it matters to this bunch that is ruining this town.