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.

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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