State budget allocation supports community-wide water and sewer study
BOSTON – Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) successfully advocated for an amendment to the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) state budget to address the ongoing issues involving the water and sewer districts in the Town of Leicester.
Rate hikes, recent water shut-offs, and the potential bankruptcy of one of the sewer districts, have sparked community-wide concerns. The Moore-sponsored budget amendment, totaling $100,000, would support the development of a water and sewer economic infrastructure feasibility study and master plan for the Town.
“I recognize that these issues continue to impact ratepayers, and threaten the public health of neighbors in the community,” said Senator Moore. “I have received dozens of calls and e-mails about these issues, and will continue to offer my help, where possible, with addressing the many problems facing these districts, and to assist with responding to ratepayers' concerns.”
Senator Moore and Representative David H.A. LeBoeuf (D-Worcester) have continued to work with federal, state and local officials, and ratepayers, to discuss potential solutions to resolve these issues.
Adding to the frustration of local residents, state agencies, including the Commonwealth’s Department of Public Utilities, have no direct authority over the local water and sewer districts in Leicester. While the entities were established by various acts of the Legislature during the early-to-mid 1900s, each district is a subscriber-owned independent entity governed by separate boards.
“Resolving the issues with the drinking water and wastewater systems in Leicester should not be approached in a piecemeal fashion,” said Senator Moore. “Instead, a full review of these utilities should be completed to unite the patchwork of services in an efficient, viable model that meets the needs of the community.”
The FY20 state budget is currently before a Conference Committee made up of six legislators to resolve differences between versions of the budget passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Legislature is slated to adopt a final version of the state budget ahead of the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2019.
In 2018, Senator Moore was also successful in securing a $100,000 bond authorization to support the development of a water and sewer economic infrastructure feasibility study and master plan in the Town of Leicester. Senator Moore has continued outreach to the Administration to urge the release of the funding authorized by the Legislature.