During the question and answer period for the FY20 budget on Tuesday evening at the high school, the true feelings of the 30 people who attended the forum came forward. And it was one of frustration.
People were still reeling over a meeting with MassPort the night before and about the sky-high water rates, which prompted a demonstration at Ingleside Park earlier in the month.
Kathleen Napoli, who started the water and sewer rate rally asked Town Manager Austin Faison what was going to be done about the rate, which is now $22.90 per 100 cubic feet of water.
“The combined sewer rate will not be changed,” Faison said, showing the history of the water/sewer enterprise fund. . “What was done instead of raising the rate was eating up the reserves. This is what the previous management and previous water commissioner chose to do. At one time this fund had over $1 million in reserves. Now it’s $46,000,” Faison said.
As for MWRA, there is no decrease in usage at the local level. The rate comes from a three-year average. The rate is calculated per a flat 1 million gallons multiplied by metered use in the community over a year, Faison said. “This is about three-year averages, not about what has happened in the last six months. I am more than apologetic about what the rate has to be but this is a bill the community has to pay.”
On another matter, Faison noted that MassPort has had an increase in its PILOT payment, from $900,000 to $2,000,000. The money has to be spent through the newly set up Winthrop Foundation, which is charged with dispersing the fund through sports related activities.
Faison also heard from residents Kathleen Capuccio and Dawn Manning. Capuccio who said she heard Faison talk about a Prop 2 ½ override on cable television’s WCAT.
“Can you provide the town with a reason for that? Aside from mismanagement and lawsuits the town has succumbed to. I elected town councilors who have elected Town Managers. So enough with putting it on the town residents,” she said. “Do not have the arrogance to put it on this town that somehow we’re not doing our job or paying our taxes.”
“Are you looking for Proposition 2 ½ override because I can assure you you’re not going to get it from this town,” she concluded to rousing applause. “In the event that there are not Prop 2 ½ overrides we will be making some difficult fiscal decisions concerning our staffing levels of our school department and public services,” Faison said, who added that he did say that in the fall of 2020 is when an override probably should happen.