Town Meeting OKs stormwater utility bylaw

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Town Meeting OKs stormwater utility bylaw
The town’s Department of Public Works has filed articles for this spring’s Town Meeting warrant to help fix aging water and sewer infrastructure, such as this culvert pipe with no headwall. (Photo/Courtesy Westborough DPW)

WESTBOROUGH — The move to establish a Stormwater Utility Bylaw passed at Annual Town Meeting on Saturday, March 25.

The vote was 102-81 in favor.

The stormwater utility enterprise fund would operate similar to a water/sewer enterprise fund. Fees generated from residential and commercial users would be used to maintain the town’s network of stormwater drains, catch basins, etc.

DPW Director Chris Payant estimated that $1.5 million would be needed annually for operations and maintenance; MS4 permit compliance; and capital improvements.

“There’s a whole bunch of stuff that has to be paid for,” said Payant, adding that a stormwater utility would be the most equitable way to generate funds.

Payant discussed a fee system using a tiered-rate approach for residential and nonresidential properties. He added that the fees would apply to every property in town.

“Everybody contributes to this,” he said.

One resident said the proposed stormwater utility “is a need to have.”

“I applaud the town for coming up with a creative mechanism,” said Mark Silverberg.

Those who objected to the article want to keep the costs for stormwater management more within town control (such as Town Meeting) instead of establishing an enterprise fund.

Article 28 to establish the fund was approved, 120-48. The article includes a transfer of $150,000 from free cash in startup funds.

Several other articles sponsored by the DPW, including improvements to the town’s water and sewer systems, passed by large majorities.

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