Short memories, poor decisions on water & sewer

May 16, 2017

To the Editor:

When I moved my family to Marion in 2001, water & sewer costs were included in the tax bill. Shortly thereafter the town made a very short-sighted decision to move the water and sewer into an enterprise. This removed those costs from our tax payments as property owners began to receive invoices - sewer users paid for water & sewer. Septic owners paid only for water.

At the time the justification was to get water & sewer fees from non-tax payers (aka Tabor Academy).

It was a horribly flawed and short sighted idea. Instead of addressing the obvious need of establishing a Filot program with the school, we removed the water/sewer from our tax bas, effectively costing rate payers more because they began to pay for the service with post-income tax dollars. At the time I challenged these concerns during the town meeting but these issues where generally dismissed as inconsequential. My my, haven't these birds come home to roost.

Today the town is faced with enormous and completely predictable sewer update & maintenance costs.

To answer Mr. Meere's first question. Under an enterprise program - user fees cover maintenance. So the sewer repair and update bills will be sent exclusively to those connected to sewer.

Generally the idea that Marion needs its own sewer system is more than a little xenophobic. It's way past time to get serious about a regional solution, basically connecting Marion's sewer to a larger and more capable regional sewer.

Any and all money spent on permits for the existing Marion only system is a huge waste of everyones time & money. It takes a brave person to admit error - continuing with our little system is a coward's choice and an expensive one at that. As it stands now, sewer users will receive the equivalent of $1,200 in betterment fees - just for the current service and repair needs. More will follow soon.

The numbers underline the problem. Over 3,600 homes, with only 1600 using the sewer. This little sewer was built for a much smaller town and does not and likely can not be upscaled to serve today's town needs much less support any further growth.

Marion needs to stop spending on this dead-end problem and focus on real and long term solutions.

Sewer regionalization is the future.


Chris Collings


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