By Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday, 9/16, the Fairhaven Board of Public Works discussed water and sewer abatements, town meeting articles and the encampment event at Fort Phoenix.
The board first met with Jean Canastra about a water and sewer abatement issue. Ms. Canastra explained to the board that she had a water and sewer bill that was over $2000 when her normal bill is usually around $200. Ms. Canastra said the town put a pink slip on her door to notify her.
Ms. Canastra said that her toilet had to be fixed and was running without her knowing it for a few weeks. She had a plumber fix it.
Ms. Canastra said she filed for an abatement, but it was denied. She then went to court with Superintendent Vincent Furtado and the court suggested she meet with the BPW to discuss the issue.
BPW Chairperson Brian Wotton asked if Ms. Canastra had the plumber’s bill and she said she did not but could get it.
Mr. Wotton explained that once the water goes through the meter it is the resident’s bill unless the water meter is faulty. He asked if her water meter has been normal since and Ms. Canastra said yes.
BPW member Keith Silvia said the plumber’s bill and pictures of the leak could be helpful.
Mr. Wotton suggested that Ms. Canastra bring those items to the board and also have a plumber go by and check all water in the house and report the findings.
Ms. Canastra agreed and said she would try to get all that done for the next BPW meeting.
The board also met with Allan Rego about a water and sewer abatement. Mr. Rego explained that his bill was $1159 and was usually around $300.
Mr. Rego explained that he had a plumber go out three times, and an employee from the water department, and both said there were no leaks anywhere.
Mr. Wotton said that the board could work with the sewer abatement but not the water.
Mr. Hobson suggested possibly helping Mr. Rego out with the difference from the normal sewer amount to the large bill.
Mr. Wotton explained that if the hose was leaking outside their house the BPW could help with the extra sewer cost.
Mr. Wotton said it sounded like there was no leak in the house, so it must have been a leak outside. The BPW can help with outside leaks especially because Mr. Rego provided documented evidence that the plumber saw no leaks.
Mr. Wotton asked Mr. Rego to bring in three of his previous sewer bills and the board will come up with the average and calculate the difference between their average bill and the current large bill and refund them the difference.
The board voted to table the issue until the next meeting.
In a related matter, the board discussed drafting a water and sewer abatement policy. Mr. Furtado said there is currently no policy and that abatements should go directly to the BPW. He explained that from now on residents will be able to view what can and cannot be abated and there will also be an application, and information on what documentation is needed for an abatement.
The board voted unanimously to accept the policy.
The board briefly discussed special town meeting articles. Mr. Furtado explained that they have four articles for the STM in November.
The first article is for the Sewer Department union conctract.
The second article is for $50,000 for the Highway Department’s permit requirements.
The third article is for work on Robert Street, which was requested by the Selectboard.
The fourth article is tax bill for $6,980 for the wells in Mattapoisett.
The board voted unanimously to approve the articles.
In another matter the board discussed the encampment at Fort Phoenix originally scheduled for 9/28 & 9/29. Mr. Furtado explained that the Fairhaven Village Militia is requesting permission to use Fort Phoenix for about 500 people for the weekend to create a life like area from the late 1770s.
Mr. Furtado explained that they would be sleeping at Fort Phoenix to recreate a 1770s military encampment, with campfires. He said he loved the idea of the event, but was concerned about the dangers of EEE.
Mr. Silvia suggested getting someone out there to spray the grounds for mosquitoes before the event.
BPW member Frank Coelho said he liked the idea of the event and is okay with it, but the board should definitely make the Militia aware of the EEE concerns.
Mr. Wotton agreed and said he did not want the town to be liable because the board allowed the event with the risk of EEE. He said he did not want to say no because the event is great.
Mr. Hobson suggested that theu approve the event, but state it is at their own risk
The board voted to waive the fee and approve the event at their own risk, and have them sign a waiver for the EEE warning.
UPDATE: The organizers have decided to hold the event on Saturday only and to end before dusk. Click here for details.
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