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Council tables vote on Phase II sewer land-taking

Date: 5/16/2012

May 16, 2012

By Debbie Gardner

AGAWAM — The City Council tabled a resolution critical to Phase II of the Feeding Hills Sewer Expansion during its May 14 Meeting.

City Councilor Robert Rossi, who chairs the Administration Committee overseeing the sewer project, said the action was necessary because the resolution before the council — which asked for the approval of land-taking necessary to construct pumping stations on Pine and Barry Streets for Phase II — was akin to "putting the cart before the horse."

Rossi said the town's Legal Department, which drafted the resolution, did not include a cost basis for taking the properties by eminent domain. He said there also was no information provided to the council regarding how the imminent domain process was to be paid for.

"We can't address the land taking until we know how much it is going to cost and where the money is going to come from," Rossi said.

On May 10, Rossi drafted a memo addressed to Christopher Golba, superintendent of the Department of Public Works, and Vincent Gioscia, town solicitor, asking to have "a cost analysis performed of the monies that are to be appropriated for these land takings" and "a resolution drafted for the appropriation of these monies." He also sent a copy of his request to Mayor Richard Cohen.

"The mayor is the one who is going to have to come up with the money," Rossi noted. "He can take it out of any account he wants. [The City Council] just has to approve it."

Rossi said he hopes to have answers to these questions within the next week so appropriate resolutions can be drafted and added to the council's agenda for the meeting scheduled for May 21.

"I want to get the land taking in the works," he said. "We can't go out to bid to get the second phase done until we know we have the land [for the pumping stations]."

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