Mashpee Selectmen Delay Wastewater Articles Again

MASHPEE – Selectmen in Mashpee have pushed back two funding articles to kickstart the town’s wastewater infrastructure plan to spring town meeting.

The articles would have asked residents to approve nearly $2.5 million for the design of the Asher’s Path treatment plant and a sewer collection system to reduce nitrogen pollution from the Mashpee River watershed.

Selectman Carol Sherman did not believe placing the articles before town meeting voters this fall was a good idea and proposed taking more time for the board to workshop with the sewer committee to learn more about the projects.

“I have said this before – we need to have conversation with our voters and Asher’s Path residents, and we haven’t,” Sherman said.

“We on the board want clean water, and we live on the water, but we need to know how to go about doing this properly, and not just throwing out money figures because they are not true money figures.”

Selectman John Cotton said the board and the town need to better understand the impacts.

“I think my biggest concern is I don’t think we know exactly what we are going to be putting in the plan,” Cotton said. “One thing I would like to see is a site plan and I have not seen one.”

Cotton said if he can’t justify why they should bring articles to the public now then holding it off until May is a better idea.

“We just started to heat up conversations over the past three months,” Cotton said. “I think this is great and that needs to continue.”

Cotton said a forum or open dialogue is needed.

“I think it needs to start with what we know as all the facts and then let people respond after that so they know all the facts,” he said.

Selectmen voted 3-1 to postpone sending the articles to town meeting this fall. Selectman chairman Andrew Gottlieb dissented.

“It’s my suspicion that the voters of the town are ahead of us in having drawn the conclusion that the time to act on our water quality is now,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb proposed combining the two articles into one $2.5 million debt exclusion with the funding not tied to a specific project.

“We have yet as a body to ask town meeting whether it wants to go forward with cleaning up our estuarine resources,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb wanted to go to town meeting voters and ask for the tools and financial resources needed to begin with wastewater infrastructure.

Gottlieb said selectmen need to compile the questions they need answered before they feel comfortable with presenting articles to town meeting.

“We are going to schedule meetings every two weeks with the idea of having a series of articles that we can move on by January 1,” he said.

The articles were also postponed from going before town meeting voters last spring.

An article was approved for the October warrant which would ask for $250,000 in funding to investigate joining Bourne, Sandwich and Falmouth, and possibly Barnstable, in connecting to a larger treatment plan at Joint Base Cape Cod.

Officials in Upper Cape communities were recently presented with the results of a regional study that seeks a solution for wastewater management.

The study proposes local capital projects totaling $155 million by connecting the towns to a larger wastewater treatment facility on Joint Base Cape Cod.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.
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