To the Editor: If anyone is to blame for the Bayside sewer construction, it is me. While serving on the Warwick City Council I proposed the $130 million bond issue in 1994, cosponsored by Councilman Al Gemma. At the time every year a bond was proposed to
To the Editor:
If anyone is to blame for the Bayside sewer construction, it is me.
While serving on the Warwick City Council I proposed the $130 million bond issue in 1994, cosponsored by Councilman Al Gemma. At the time every year a bond was proposed to sewer a certain area, such as Nausauket, Gaspee, etc. The voters in each area approved the bonds, but the rest of the city rejected them. No one was getting sewers.
The City of Warwick was not attracting new business or new home construction due to the lack of sewers. I then proposed the $130 million bond to completely sewer the rest of Warwick. Against all odds, the voters of Warwick approved the bond. My original legislation stated that the shoreline areas should be done first, and the city be completed in 15 years. As we all know, that did not happen.
The then Warwick Sewer Authority decided to install sewers where the digging was easy and not along the coast line which was a more complicated project. As everyone knows there was many cost over runs and problems. Now 27 years later and more bond issues, the WSA has approved the Bayside project. The late Mayor Solomon appointed me to the sewer authority in January 2019, and the City Council approved my appointment. At my very first meeting of the WSA I spoke about the need for Bayside sewers and why it was not being addressed. Bayside had been on the docket for quite a while but no progress was being made.
Since then the board and myself have been pushing for the project to get moving. Cost was a major factor at the time, but with the federal money Mayor Picozzi acquired we are on our way. After I left the council I tried to get appointed to the sewer authority to speed things up with no success. The current director BettyAnne Rogers and the administration of the WSA are excellent. I have seen first hand how well it is now functioning.
The WSA board approved the Bayside contract over a year ago. The mayor has nothing to do with what the board approves. The mayor only has to sign the construction contract, as he has to sign for all major purchases of the city. Mayor Picozzi has saved each household around $10,000 from what the original estimates were by applying for federal funds.
At the meeting last Thursday night, Sept. 16, many residents were blaming the Mayor for going forward with the sewer construction. All Mayor Picozzi did was sign the construction contract. He had nothing to do with approving Bayside sewers. The WSA board including myself voted unanimously to approve Bayside. It has been far too long and the DEM has given many extensions for the project to get started or the homeowners would be subject to fines. As we all know many lots in the Bayside area are not large enough to support a septic system, and if they are you are looking at $30,000-plus to install one. I believe that $16,900 (guaranteed) is a much better option and you have 30 years to pay for it.
As I stated above, DO NOT blame Mayor Picozzi, blame me.
Former councilman, Ward 5