Wait to Sign Sewer Contracts After Old Lyme Election, Clarify Costs First


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To the Editor:

My husband loves to fish. That’s why we own property here in Old Lyme. One day he came home and said to me, “Great news, Mary, I was able to buy a fishing Ski-Doo, at a 25% discount!” He was very excited. “Well”, I said, “what is the total cost of the Ski-Doo?” “I’m not sure, but it’s 25% off!” “Well, what’s included?”, I asked. “Is the trailer included? The maintenance and storage? Any fishing or navigation apparatus?” “I don’t know,” he said. “Stop asking so many questions— this is a great deal!” “How about bait?”, I asked. “No”, he said. “Oh, yes, I said – the bait is included! You took the bait—hook, line and sinker!”

Great news from the WPCA! DEEP has agreed to provide 25% or up to $15 million in a “forgivable” loan, toward the cost of sewering a small area in Old Lyme that is 80% vacant 8 months out of the year. So exciting right? Oh wait! 25%, or $15 million—that implies that the estimated cost for sewering this small community is now $60 million. What does that estimate include? We are not sure. Perhaps the force main, pump house and return? Maybe the bioxide station? Maybe the operating and maintenance fees, but we don’t really know what that will be, so maybe, maybe, maybe.

Well, then, may we ask what is NOT included in the $60 million estimate? We are not sure but there might be additional maintenance and operational expenses, legal fees, management fees, home owner hookup fees, paving, well closures, Connecticut Water fees, and well, we are not sure what else. We do know for sure there will be additional fees to use New London’s facilities, but we don’t know exactly what those fees will be in dollars. We are only volunteers, doing the best we can, says WPCA Chair Prendergast.

Ok, well, thank you for your service. But can you tell us, what will the homeowners who are served by this project end up paying out of pocket? For the installation? For the connection fees? For the maintenance and usage? And what will the rest of the town residents pay? What’s the bottom line. Well, we are not sure. We are doing the best we can. We are volunteers, says WPCA Chair Prendergast.

Stop! Before the Selectmen and Board of Finance approve any additional contracts regarding sewers— Stop! There is no penalty in waiting. Let’s allow our new boards that will be elected in less than 27 days make these important decisions. Give the new board members time to review these contracts that will impact Old Lyme for decades to come. Let’s be sure. Cross every T, identify what every property owner will be asked to pay, and what the town will pay, forever, what the limitations will be, forever, once these contracts are signed. Let’s be sure this is best for Old Lyme.

If you’d like to hear the latest WPCA discussion regarding the uncertainty of the pending DEEP “forgivable loan”, listen to the WPCA meeting recording from September 2023, starting at the 39:40-minute mark. For information regarding the uncertainty of details proposed in the revised New London IMA agreement,listen to that same WPCA recording, starting at the 54:30-minute mark. If you still have questions, well, you still have questions.  Like the rest of us. WPCA Meeting September 12, 2023 – YouTube 

By the way DEEP does accept individual green alternative solutions. The cost for state of the art – alternative engineered systems – about $30- $35K per lot which is much cheaper than installing a sewersystem, even with a “forgiveable” loan. There is a better way.

Mary Daley
Old Lyme

P.S. For Sale – one luxury fishing Ski-Doo. 50% off. Contact Mary Daley