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Council Passes $4.8 Million Plan To Bring Sewers To Brown Street

The proposal, which will be voted on in a special election, avoids private residences.

If approved by voters, the sewer line will go down Brown Street. Credit: NK Patch
If approved by voters, the sewer line will go down Brown Street. Credit: NK Patch

"It's like 'Groundhog Day,'" said Public Works Director Phil Bergeron Monday night as the Town Council prepared to hear the latest proposal to bring sewers to Wickford. But the movie, even Groundhog day finally ends, and so, it appears, does for the quest to find just the right collection of properties to sewer, as the council voted 5-0 in favor of sewers for the Wickford business district, and only the business district. No private homes will be forced to tie in. 

Voters still need to approve the $4.86 million plan. The council decided to hold a special election presenting two questions: the Wickford proposal and $2.6 million for the Post Road North proposal approved by the Town Council last week. The actual cost for Post Road North is $6.8 million, but the council decided to put the $4.2 million in bonding authority left over from Post Road South toward the Post Road North project. 

(That $4.2 million was to have been used to sewer Sauga Point/Shore Acres, but the Town Council voted against the proposal last week after results from a survey of property owners there showed the majority of them did not want sewers.)

The sewer assessment per EDU (equivalent dwelling unit) is $56,000. The EDU is based on water usage now. If a new business comes to town later – during the length of the 20-year sewer assessment payoff, Geremia said the council could decide to charge an sewer assessment add-on fee. Just what that extra money would go toward will have to be worked out.

Another issue that came up Monday was the construction schedule for Wickford. Road work on any street is probablematic; on Brown Street – the heart of commercial Wickford – it could be very hard on the businesses already there.

For that reason, Geremia suggested following what he called the "Block Island Model," where you start building after Labor Day and stop building right before July 4.

If a special election is held in April, plans could be designed over the summer and construction in Wickford could possibly start next fall. It may not be a great distance, said Geremia, but it will be complicated.

"It doesn't look like a lot, but there's a lot of utilities in Wickford," he said. 

Council President Liz Dolan agreed: "There's no doubt it's going to be difficult. There's no doubt it's going to be messy. Anyone who lived through the new sidewalks knows that."

The date for the special election should be decided at the Town Council's next meeting, Monday, Feb. 10.

Politics Sheriff of NK January 29, 2014 at 08:13 AM
This sounds like a good step, actually. I bet it was a Welch Compromise, since he is the most experienced public policy expert on our council. Good job!
Jeff Crawford January 29, 2014 at 08:21 AM
Hopefully the $ 1,000,000.00 being paid for the Wickford Elementary School and property will be used to reduce the cost of the sewer line installation.
CONCERNED AND OVER TAXED CITIZEN January 29, 2014 at 09:09 AM
Excellent compromise. Sewers primarily for commercial and business only. Paid by users only. The way it was presented to the public to begin with. Kudos to the council.
sewerkingus January 29, 2014 at 10:57 AM
CONCERNEDANDOVER.......How does your post differ from your previous sewer post? Do you accept using taxpayer money for the chosen few in Wickford? Apparently you are not concerned about the Post Rd businesses that have to pay their assessment WITHOUT the assistance of tax payer money or am I incorrect and tax payers including you will assist me in paying my assessment? As usual the haves are taken care of at the cost of the have not’s. What will the council sell next to assist the chosen remainder of Wickford sewer assessment? Equally disappointing that Maloney and Welch are forgetting the majority of North Kingstown residents while falling in line with Dolan, Hueston and McKay. Hip hip hooray, a unified council at the expense of the little guy.
Pam January 29, 2014 at 11:07 AM
I will be voting yes just to get any sewers at all! Would like to see homeowners tied in eventually, since they are only yards from our greatest resource. Would also think all businesses in town should be treated the same, ie fairly.
CONCERNED AND OVER TAXED CITIZEN January 29, 2014 at 02:46 PM
Sewerking, I REPEAT. NO TAXPAYER MONEY IS INVOLVED WITH THIS PLAN. ALL COSTS ARE INCURRED AND PAYED FOR BY THE USER, WEATHER PRIVATE OR BUSINESS, AS BY DESIGN IN THE FIRST PLACE. IT IS NOT ON THE BACKS OF ALL THE TAXPAYERS, ONLY THE USERS. DICK WELCH AND KEVIN MALONEY ARE NOT FORGETTING THE MAJORITY, THEY ARE THINKING OF THE MAJORITY'S WISHES AND KEEPING IT "PAID FOR BY THE USERS ONLY".
sewerkingus January 29, 2014 at 03:59 PM
CONCERNEDANDOVER.......IF YOU DO NOT CONSIDER USING PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF TOWN PROPERTY TO DEFRAY “WICKFORD” SEWER COSTS, THE SAME PROCEEDS THAT COULD BE USED FOR THE BENEFIT OF “ALL” TAX PAYERS AS NOT USING TAX MONEY THEN YOU ARE CORRECT. DID "WICKFORD" BUSINESSES WANT SEWERS BEFORE THEY HEARD THAT THE PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF TOWN PROPERTY WILL BE USED TO DEFRAY THE COST TO “WICKFORD” BUSINESSES? THE COUNCIL DECIDED THAT THE “WICKFORD” SEWER APPROVAL IS FOR BUSINESSES ONLY? WILL THE SEWER LINE RUN IN FRONT OF “WICKFORD” RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES? WILL THE SAME SEWER LINE HAVE A HOOK UP FOR THE SAME “WICKFORD” RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES? WHEN THE RESIDENTTIAL PROPERTIES HOOK UP TO THE SEWERS THREE YEARS FROM NOW WILL THEY PAY AN ASSESSMENT FOR SOMETHING THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID FOR WITH THE PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF TOWN PROPERTY? YOU INDICATE THAT MALONEY AND WELCH ARE THINKING OF THE MAJORITY’S WISHES, A LITTLE SECRET FOR YOU THERE ARE MORE THAN ONLY PEOPLE IN “WICKFORD” RESIDING IN TOWN AND THAT INCLUDES ME WITH A BUSINESS ON POST RD. THE SAME POST RD BUSINESS THAT IS NOT RECEIVING ANY MONEY FROM THE SALE OF TOWN PROPERTY TO DEFRAY MY MANDATED COST TO HOOK UP TO SEWERS. FACE IT; THERE ARE TWO CLASSES OF RESIDENTS LIVING IN NORTH KINGSTOWN WITH MALONEY AND WELCH SHOWING WHERE THEIR LOYALTIES LIE.
CONCERNED AND OVER TAXED CITIZEN January 29, 2014 at 05:03 PM
SEWERKING, FOR YOUR INFORMATION I DO NOT HAVE AN AX TO GRIND. I DO NOT LIVE IN WICKFORD. I LIVE IN AN AREA THAT WILL NEVER BE SEWERED NOW OR IN THE FUTURE. I ALSO HAVE LIVED IN THIS TOWN SINCE 1958 AND PAID PROPERTY TAXES SINCE 1970. I HAVE WATCHED THEM RISE BY OVER 300%. THERE IS A MISSCONCEPTION THAT THE TAXPAYERS LOSE 1.2M BY OFFSETTING THE WICKFORD PLAN. WICKFORD EL PROPERTY IN NOT SALEABLE WITHOUT SEWERS. IT CANNOT GET APPROVAL FROM DEM FOR A NEW SEPTIC SYSTEM SO THE COUNCIL IS CAUGHT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE. LET IT SIT THERE FOREVER VACANT AND PRODUCING NO TAX REVENUE OR MAKE THE DEAL WORK BY SUBSIDISING AND MOVE FORWARD WITH THE EXCELLENT PROPOSAL THAT WILL HOPEFULLY GIVE THE TOWN THE SHOT IN THE ARM THAT IT NEEDS ECONOMICALLY, WITHOUT ALL THE WHINING. THANK YOU TOWN COUNCIL.
sewerkingus January 29, 2014 at 06:20 PM
CONCERNEDANDOVER....... SOME MORE INFORMATION FOR YOU, LIKE YOU ALL PROPERTY OWNERS THROUGHOUT TOWN ALSO PAY TAXES. FURTHERMORE, UNLIKE YOU I HAVE TO PAY A SEWER ASSESSMENT FEE. HOW AND WHY IS THE COUNCIL BEING CAUGHT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE? HOW ABOUT FAIRNESS IN APPLYING THE 1.2M TO ALL THAT ARE BEING REQUIRED TO HOOK UP TO SEWERS OPPOSED TO ONLY BUSINESSES IN WICKFORD. PART OF THAT 1.2M IS MY TAX DOLLARS SO WHY NOT OFFSET SOME OF MY AND OTHER POST RD ASSESSMENT’S. WHY WOULD EQUITY PREVENT SEWERS TO WICKFORD EL? I UNDERSTAND YOU DO NOT HAVE AN AX TO GRIND BUT IT IS ATTITUDES SUCH AS YOURS AND THE COUNCIL THAT PREVENTS FAIRNESS TO ALL.
NK Gumshoe January 30, 2014 at 08:19 AM
Ah..details!
CONCERNED AND OVER TAXED CITIZEN January 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM
SEWERKING. UNLIKE YOU I AM A RESIDENCE, NOT A BUSINESS AND NO ONE SUPPORTED THE COST OF MY ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM. THE USE OF THE 1.2M IS NOT GOING TO BENEFIT ME IN ANY WAY EXCEPT TO MOVE ALONG A VERY BENEFICIAL PROJECT ie WICKFORD EL, TO INCREASE TRAFFIC AND BOOST THE ECONOMY IN TOWN. I WILL NOT BE WHINING ABOUT IT. THERE ARE WORSE WAYS TO BLOW MY TAX DOLLARS. BY THE WAY, SPEAKING OF FACTS, HOW MUCH IS YOUR COMMERCIAL EDU ASSESSMENT GOING TO BE FOR POST ROAD AND HOW MUCH IS WICKFORD COMMERCIAL EDU ASSESSMENT PROPOSED TO BE?
Pam January 30, 2014 at 10:21 AM
If there is not a reason that you need to type in caps, would you mind typing in lower-case letters? It's hard to read all caps.
Jeff Crawford January 30, 2014 at 10:28 AM
On a similar topic, has there been any further discussion from the school department or the Town about the gray water retention tanks at the high school and the costs associated with trucking and disposal at the out of Town facility? It was on a recent agenda with the school Department but I have not heard anything more. Hopefully, the Administration will realize that this sewer line and pump stations should be used send this gray water for treatment and disposal, rather than paying a company to haul it out of Town for disposal. This should be a cost savings to the Town.
sewerkingus January 30, 2014 at 11:38 AM
CONCERNEDANDOVER.......I also have a residence for which I also pay taxes, so I am paying 2 times taxes but I am not sure how that plays into the equation except that it means I am into the Wickford EL twice as much as you. I also enjoy reading that the 1.2M will not benefit you in any way i.e. you are not going to have to pay a sewer assessment. How about offsetting the next tax increase for all? How does my assessment enter into the equation? With that in mind I will ask you if you think Wickford property values are greater than Post Rd values. Why doesn't the council do the same as they did with Post Rd and vote to install sewers period?? It is becoming obvious that you are either a member of the council, will personally benefit from Wickford El money or you have a relative - friend that will benefit from the spending of tax payer dollars. Then again it has become the town standard and either way it is just another example of who rates in this town and who does not and in this instance the does not is the second class north of Wickford residents. Shame on you.
CONCERNED AND OVER TAXED CITIZEN January 30, 2014 at 05:59 PM
SEWERKING. PAM, MY CAPS LOCK IS stuck. SEWERKING, I PAY OVER $10,000 IN PROPERTY TAX ON A MODEST DWELLING ON A 1/4 ACRE LOT SO DON'T TELL ME HOW YOUR INTO WICKFORD EL TWICE MY INVESTMENT. I HAVE BEEN PAYING TAXES IN TOWN SINCE 1970. HOW LONG HAVE YOU? I WILL NOT PAY A SEWER ASSESSMENT BECAUSE I WILL NOT BE USING SEWERS FOR A BUSINESS THAT I DO NOT HAVE. I INSTALLED AN ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM AND MAINTAIN IT WITH AN ANNUAL FEE WITH NO HELP FROM SEWER USERS OR OTHER TAXPAYERS. YOUR ASSESSMENT ENTERS INTO THE EQUATION BECAUSE YOU CLAIM YOU ARE BEING TREATED UNFAIRLY. LETS COMPARE YOUR "EDU" ASSESSMENT TO OTHER PROPOSED SEWER AREAS SUCH AS WICKFORD. I THINK YOU WILL FIND YOURS IS LOWER SO WHERE IS THE UNFAIRNESS? WHAT IS YOURS? SEWERS ARE AN ASSET AND SOMETIMES A NECESSITY FOR ANY BUSINESS TO OPERATE. DWELLINGS WITH THEIR OWN SYSTEM WORKING PROPERLY DO NOT POLUTE THE BAY, WHEREAS SEWERS HAVE AN OUTFLOW THAT IS NEVER MORE THAN 90% CLEANED UP. THEREFORE 10% POLUTION BY SEWERS INTO THE BAY. FURTHERMORE I AM NOT A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL, NOR WILL I BENEFIT FROM WICKFORD EL MONEY, AND I DO NOT HAVE A RELATIVE - FRIEND WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE SPENDING OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS. I AM AS OVER BURDENED AS ANYONE BY TAXES IN TOWN AND HOPE THAT THIS TOWN COUNCIL WILL CONTINUE TO HOLD THE LINE ON TAXES AS THEY HAVE IN THE RECENT PAST. Thank you Town Council.
sewerkingus January 31, 2014 at 09:22 AM
CONCERNEDANDOVER.......Regardless of the fact that obviously you reside in the haves side of town, there is no justification for the council to give my money to you and other’s residing on the haves side of town. Be fair in sending residents a check from the Wickford El proceeds allowing recipients to refuse in favor of Wickford sewers. Let me make this simple for you, buy a Mercedes and a Hyundai then whine about the higher Mercedes service cost expecting others to defray your service cost. For some reason you avoid legitimate questions by justifying what you, the haves and the council prefer rather than what is fair to each and every resident. Seems that McKay has forgotten about his “pocket” speech when authorizing thousands of tax payer dollars for a special election. Continuing to keep this simple for you I will again ask: 1. Did you post that “NO TAXPAYER MONEY IS INVOLVED WITH THIS PLAN. ALL COSTS ARE INCURRED AND PAYED FOR BY THE USER, WEATHER PRIVATE OR BUSINESS”? 2. Is the $1.2M proceeds from the sale of Wickford El tax payer dollars? 3. Did you post delights when Post Rd bonding was approved, when sewer assessments were determined or did you care if the assessment created a hardship? 4. Prior to knowing about the use of tax payer money, did you post indicating that for the better of town, Wickford should be forced to sewer? 5. Did you post that “SEWERS ARE AN ASSET AND SOMETIMES A NECESSITY FOR ANY BUSINESS TO OPERATE”? 6. Will all Wickford businesses have sewers when Brown St businesses have sewers? 7. Why not sewer Wickford in the same fashion as Post Rd? 8. Do you care about the north side of town? By the way, $20 for a new keyboard.
CONCERNED AND OVER TAXED CITIZEN January 31, 2014 at 09:46 AM
Sewerking. Thanks for the tip on the key board. I think you are confused with your Mercedes analogy. I am not WHINING. YOU ARE. Lets keep it simple. I will say it again, I do not gain in any way with any scenario you can think of unless you lower my taxes. Lets keep it simple. What is your "EDU" assessment going to be compared to the wickford "EDU" assessment. You are avoiding the question. And finally for your information I voted NO for sewers back in the 1970's and I voted No for sewers in the last referendum, and I will vote NO for sewers in the next one. I explained my philosophy on SEPTIC SYSTEMS VS SEWERS in my prior post and to this day I have NOT had an engineer make a case for SEWERS OVER A PROPER WORKING SEPTIC OR ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM yet.
sewerkingus January 31, 2014 at 10:56 AM
CONCERNEDANDOVER.......looks as though your keyboard issue is now intermittent so today’s word is credibility. Speaking about credibility you write that you initially posted that “The recent sewer bonds were approved with USER PAID fees only. Lets keep it that way”. Then you post “excellent compromise. Sewers primarily for commercial and business only. Paid by users only. The way it was presented to the public to begin with”. Then you post stuck keyboard and all “I REPEAT. NO TAXPAYER MONEY IS INVOLVED WITH THIS PLAN. ALL COSTS ARE INCURRED AND PAYED FOR BY THE USER, WEATHER PRIVATE OR BUSINESS, AS BY DESIGN IN THE FIRST PLACE”. Then you post with your still stuck keyboard “THERE IS A MISSCONCEPTION THAT THE TAXPAYERS LOSE 1.2M BY OFFSETTING THE WICKFORD PLAN”. Then you post with your remaining stuck keyboard “THE USE OF THE 1.2M IS NOT GOING TO BENEFIT ME”. Then you post with you still stuck keyboard “NOR WILL I BENEFIT FROM WICKFORD EL MONEY”. Then you post with your improving keyboard “I voted NO for sewers back in the 1970's and I voted No for sewers in the last referendum, and I will vote NO for sewers in the next one”. It is your double talk and resultant actions such as above that allow residents to understand that ultimately you and the other members of the council will do what you please rather than what is right. Don’t worry; understanding that you shut residents out they are becoming numb to your actions. Looking forward to what you have planned for everyone during the next budget all the while remembering the $1.2M given to a select few. Thank you!
NK Edge January 31, 2014 at 06:29 PM
Will you two children knock it off! You both have some good points but you're not going to solve it by trading jabs on "The Patch".
CONCERNED AND OVER TAXED CITIZEN February 01, 2014 at 11:11 AM
Sewerking, I will ask for the third time, what is the EDU assessment for post road.
sewerkingus February 01, 2014 at 12:30 PM
CONCERNEDANDOVER......you are good at avoiding questions while asking something that was approved by you and the other council members which is public information and is not being subsidized by tax payer money. Does it matter or should I view your question as double talk on your part being that you previously indicated that you are going to vote no on future sewer bonding! Really? Here is another question for you to avoid, how does your precious Wickford property values compare to Post Rd property values? Here is a fun fact for you, my have not north end of town residence does not come close to your haves south end of town $600k residence valuation. Good to see you finally addressed your keyboard issue!
CONCERNED AND OVER TAXED CITIZEN February 01, 2014 at 07:41 PM
Mistaken Sewerking. I am not a Town Council member. I do not live in Wickford. I also don't believe a council member would banter back and forth on this board. I assume they have to busy. If you are not happy with your "have not north end town residence" then relocate down here with us overvalued and over taxed residences. We always have the option to move out of town if we are not happy. There are many who are doing just that. We will soon have the most "affordable housing" of any town in RI. and the highest tax rates in the country. Don,t get me started. By the way I don't have that info on the post road EDU assessment so please inform me as I have asked three times already.
sewerkingus February 02, 2014 at 09:16 AM
CONCERNEDANDOVER......I find it noteworthy that a member of the council would deny their standing while promoting a self-interest agenda. Interesting that you post that council members are too busy to post on Patch because you know. Appreciate your offer of relocating to the haves side of town but no thanks, I would not fit in. Also appreciate your reminder to those residing in the have not side of town of that we can always move out of town which will eliminate the issue and problem. There is much that the town can do to hold the line on taxes starting with not giving away tax payer money to the chosen few. To recap you have indicated that everyone should pay their own assessment, taxpayer dollars should support Wickford sewers, you have and will vote no to any sewer bonding, shall I go on? With that being said I think I understand where you stand on subsidized Wickford business and no residence (wink) sewers. I also realize that your stance is in line with the council, do the math and maybe you will apply that $1.2M to offset the upcoming tax increase. Lastly, I would like to remind you that this is not a council meeting so answers for answers.
CONCERNED AND OVER TAXED CITIZEN February 02, 2014 at 05:02 PM
Sewerking. Last call to answer my question. Also you are lying and twisting my comments. We are done.
sewerkingus February 03, 2014 at 11:12 AM
CONCERNEDANDOVER......unfortunate that you avoid the truth with veiled accusations. Equally unfortunate that you and the remainder of the council have either forgot or don't care about the majority of residents.

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