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Councilor calls for decrease of $11 million sewer phase

Date: 7/18/2012

By Katelyn Gendron

AGAWAM — City Councilor Robert Rossi, chair of the Ad Hoc Sewer Subcommittee, has no qualms voicing his opposition of the $11 million price tag for phase two of the Feeding Hills Sewer Extension Project.

Rossi discussed his disapproval of the figure and the time it has taken to get a shovel in the ground at a joint Legislative and Administrative Subcommittee workshop on July 10. Originally, each phase had a projected cost of $3.6 million, however, phase two was raised to $7.3 million and now $11 million due to the building of two pumping stations, 21,000 feet of pipe and other capital improvements, he explained.

"I don't want people in that sewer district to pay one penny more than they have to," Rossi said, noting that phase one came under bid at $1.7 million.

Phase two begins at the former Police Academy on South Westfield Street and continues toward Barry Street to include Bradford Drive and Pine Street.

Increasing the connection fees for sewer hook-up was also discussed at the meeting as well as the ordinance for mandatory connection.

City Councilor James Cichetti, chair of the Legislative Subcommittee, explained that the council is trying to find out whether or not there is an existing ordinance for mandatory sewer hook-up or if one will have to be drafted in order to ensure that all residents are paying the fees necessary to fund the system.

"If everybody hooks into the system, everybody will be paying less," Rossi said. "It's to everybody's advantage if people stand back and look through the window at this thing."

There will be several advantages to having sewer in Feeding Hills, Cichetti explained, including the system's increase of property values, as well as it's ability to relieve those with failing septic tanks.

When asked when phase two would begin, Rossi replied said he has to meet with members of the Department of Public Works and the Engineering Department to go over the cost, which would then be bonded by the City Council.

"I was hoping to have a shovel in the ground already but it would be wonderful to have them in the ground this year," Rossi said, adding that phase three should be a much smoother and quicker operation.