Sewer project could cause elderly residents to lose their homes

Mar 21, 2012

To the Editor,

First let me assure everyone that I'm not opposed to progress nor am I opposed to a cleaner environment and cleaner water. However, I am opposed to the manner in which the Oakdale and Cromesett area residents have been treated relative to the sewer project.

In focusing on the Oakdale community for a moment, I wonder how many of us realize that Oakdale has a large percentage of elderly people with some of its housing stock dating back four and five generations.

Many of the older-generation homeowners are on fixed incomes or have low incomes and their homes are the only valuable possession they own. They have worked and contributed immensely to this larger Wareham community and helped make it the desirable town that it presently is. While the younger siblings have grown up and mostly moved away to pursue their dreams, Oakdale's elderly population and those on fixed, low incomes are fighting an uphill battle to hold onto the only thing many of them have left: their home.

The sewer project -- Wareham's plan to bring the sewer system to the Oakdale area -- will likely result in many home owners losing their homes because they cannot comply with the town's mandate to hook into the sewer system and pay the "betterment" fee.

To make matters worse, the town of Wareham was not very vigorous in keeping the cost of the sewer project as minimal as possible. Our elected officials -- those we elected to manage our town, those we elected to look out for the best interest of the town's residents -- seemed to look the other way, making decisions that ultimately raised the price of the sewer project as it related to the Oakdale community.

Sharon Gomes

Avenue A, Wareham

Comments (5)
Posted by: canniff | Mar 21, 2012 12:13

I believe the residents have 20 years over which to spread the betterment fee.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 21, 2012 18:21

Canniff, You are correct in saying that the betterment can be spread over 20 years. I do not believe that the tie in construction, alterations to plumbing, landscaping ect can be included on the betterment loan. This could be spreadout but it would be at a much higher interest rate and different loan. We must not forget the useage fee that will be on top of all of this and those rates will climb thruout. With a 22-23K betterment, 5K tie in, $700 per year useage fee we are looking at $42,000 over 20 years without interest or increases to the useage fee. Many people will pay more in sewer than they will in taxes! People will not only lose their homes the Town will lose tax revenue as homes fall into states of disrepair due to overwhelming burdens placed upon them. People have options if they are cold or hungry, will you start up a "Cannif for Sewer"  like a "Joe for Oil"to help us with making ends meet? Didn't think so. Do you have to pay for a street repaving in front of your house? We have to pay twice, once thru the betterment and again thru taxes. Did you have to pay for water and drainage betterments in front of your home? We have to pay twice, once thru betterments and and again thru taxes or water bills  The thoughtless and clueless people who signed away our futures by signing these contracts should be run out of town. These projects were grossly mismanaged and grossly overpriced. The contractor and engineering firm are laughing all the way to the bank at the imbiciles that let this project go forward. They had an open checkbook and knew it and to this day we do not know how much the project costs. They didn't even have a final plan or easements in hand before they started. People will lose thier homes and it won't just be the elderly. Maybe next time it will be you Canniff.

Posted by: WWreader | Mar 27, 2012 07:01

I want to know what happened to our elected sewer commissioners? We passed this at town meeting. We need sewer commissioners who are engineers, scientists, finance people to run this sewer business. We vote for selectman who don't have a clue about this stuff. And what do they talk about when the BOS do have their sewer meeting part of their own meeting? Paying bills and giving abatements. You never hear them really spend a whole meeting talking about sewer issues.


What's the delay? We should be voting on new sewer commissioners on April 3rd. Now we have to wait at least another year. It's supposedly sitting on Pacheco's desk because of wording. How complicated can it be since other towns have sewer commissioners. Let's all demand that it goes through so next April we can finally vote on sewer commissioners. Just another example of the TA and BOS not doing the will of the people.

Posted by: | Mar 27, 2012 16:14

In my opinion town officials are using the nitrogen problem as and excuse to push through the sewerage project so our usage fees will be annual and they can pocket a huge connection fee. The nitrogen problem is at least 80% the fault of the cranberry bog owners. Why are they not responsible for the installation fees of the sewer project. The bog owners became very wealthy over the years and polluted the town with nitrogen. Why do they not get the lion share of the fees involved? Whenever town officials(polititions) are involved I like to paraphrase the old line that still applies " The longer he talked about his virtues the faster we counted our silverware"

Posted by: seriously? | Mar 27, 2012 16:34

I know, that's absolutely true about the cranberry growers.  They have gotten rich, and continue to get rich off cranberry bogs while homeowners have to pony up thousands upon thousands of dollars to clean the water that they (cranberry bog owners) have polluted for years.  And, continue to pollute.


Here's something else to think about.  Bog owners are the biggest land owners in Wareham.  Where do you think new housing developments are going to be put?  Yup, on bog land.  And, here's the kicker.  These new homes WILL NOT be required to be on sewer.  They will be on septic systems.  So the nitrogen taken out of the water with your new sewer connection will be put right back in by these new homes.  Sound fair?  Cranberry bog owners win either way and residents of Wareham lose all ways.

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