HARWICH – Monday’s special town hall will be the city’s first indoor town hall in two years, thanks to COVID-19.
Voters will gather in the Harwich Community Center Gymnasium at 6:30 p.m. to examine 14 items, with sewage and affordable housing dominating the mandate. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Center Gymnasium, 100 Oak Street. Masks are required. No seats in the stands.
The largest item is the authorization to spend $ 2.1 million on the design and engineering of additional area sewers in East Harwich. Those areas are in the Round Cove and Pleasant Bay watersheds, said Russ Kleecamp, project manager for GHD Consulting Services, wastewater consultants hired by the city.
At a September 13 selection meeting, Kleecamp said these properties are in addition to areas already included in the sewage and sewage export plan to the Chatham treatment plant under a intermunicipal agreement.
Kleecamp told the board at the September meeting that between 450 and 600 homes would be added to the sewer system at a cost of between $ 25,000 and $ 75,000 per home, depending on the distance between properties.
Some thought the city should wait to study the use of innovative / alternative septic systems and an updated comprehensive wastewater management plan before approving $ 2.1 million to design an expansion of current plans.
“Each year we expect you to add 3-5% (to cost),” Kleecamp told the board. He said the city had already committed to paying a set amount of debit and that these areas would help ensure the city was taking advantage of the full gallon it was paying for.
Water and Wastewater Superintendent Daniel Pelletier, also speaking at the September 13 meeting, said completing the design and engineering work would help position the city as a ready-to-go project for the US federal funding for the bailout.
Kleecamp said using innovative / alternative septic systems was problematic. Their use would not contribute to the 300,000 gallons per day of the Chatham deal, he said. And the systems tended to be less efficient at removing nitrogen, which could lead to additional sewers in other areas to meet the state’s nitrogen removal goals to restore coastal water bodies. from the city.
Plus, there is a level of personal responsibility in using these systems, Kleecamp said.
“There are a lot of reports of owners (of innovative / alternative septic systems) saving on their energy bills by turning them off, or if they’re loud at night, turn them off,” he said. He said the city may want to allow these systems in areas that are difficult to access with conventional sewers.
Noting Chatham’s problems with PFAS contamination, board chairman Michael MacAskill warned that the innovative systems do not filter these chemicals.
The $ 2.1 million is to be paid with cash on hand, and the finance committee and selection men unanimously approved the article. Available cash includes unspent income and credits that are not committed to other projects and that have been certified as such by the State Revenue Department.
The finance committee and elected officials also unanimously approved spending $ 250,000 for engineering services to update Harwich’s comprehensive wastewater management plan.
Speaking on a televised review of special articles on city meetings, City Manager Joseph Powers said an article asking for $ 400,000 to design a wastewater collection system for two wards would be postponed indefinitely because the city was able to obtain blueprints from its former sewage contractor, CDMSmith.
Some of the other items selected by the breeders included:
- $ 200,000 in free cash for the engineering and design of a sewer pipe installation along Highway 28. This would save the city money while the state repaved the city. road and could be available to hook up to a sewage treatment plant in Dennis, if built.
- Creation of a Special Purpose Wastewater Stabilization Fund and an Affordable Housing Stabilization Fund, both of which will receive 25% of room taxes, or approximately $ 350,000 each, each year.
- A modified room tax, from 4% to 6%. Powers said most cities have already set their rate at 6%.
Follow Doug Fraser on Twitter: @dougfrasercct