‘Who should pay?’

  • Published in Letters

To The Editor:

Once again the Waitsfield Select Board appears confused. The Valley Reporter article “Who will pay?” indicates that the board is not clear as to who should pay for the water system expense resulting from the VTrans pipe incursion costs. It is obvious to everyone that those customers who are on the water system should pay.

I have lived on White Pine Drive for 28 years. We have a mixed system of shared water and septic systems. Some of us are on individual wells and some of us are on a shared water system. Those of us on the shared water system are committed to a group financial responsibility arrangement that has endured for over 30 years. As owners come and go we have a well fund that all users pay into to cover operating expenses and a reserve for repairs. This past summer we had to do roof repairs and other required upgrades to our pump house and system. We did not ask the town of Waitsfield to pay for those repairs.

I was on the board of Spring Hill School a number of years ago when it became a nonprofit and the ownership of the property was transferred from the private owners to the nonprofit corporation. The school had always shared a well with the surrounding homeowners, but in the course of child care licensing for the new legal entity it was discovered that the total number of “persons” on the shared well – child care kids and residents – brought the number of users over the number for Vermont’s legal definition of a pubic water system.

This discovery triggered significant cost for Spring Hill School. While the well and pump were always fine there were large permitting, engineering and ongoing inspection fees. One could easily argue that Spring Hill School is a “community asset,” but we as a board did not ask Waitsfield taxpayers to pay for the extra costs. Spring Hill paid all the extra costs.

Our select board has to stop looking at taxpayers as if they are an unlimited supply of money for every expense that comes before the board. The select board needs to accept their fiduciary responsibility and be prudent as to what they spend taxpayers’ money on.

The water system customers need to pay for their system costs just as we all pay for ours.

Jim Boylan

White Pine Drive