Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Citizen group actively involved in affecting growth and development in town.

Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Postby tigerchief on Wed Jun 22, 2005 3:32 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by tsantora:
The "Mangeler" recommends water rates....and the "Bored" approves same....

Does this statement mean we aren't voting for the new water deal? Sorry but I'm a bit confused. I plan on going to the high school at 10 on Saturday and now wonder if I'm voting there or going to the polls to

Nah, tsantora....we're voting at Town Meeting at the High School on Saturday @ 10:00 am...

My post was intended to show the problem thru the bigger picture.....
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Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Postby tigerchief on Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:04 pm


Overhaul could hike water rates by 35 percent
By Joyce Pellino Crane, Globe Correspondent | June 16, 2005

TEWKSBURY -- Water bills in Tewksbury will rise as much as 35 percent this year, if residents decide on June 25 to overhaul the town's water operations.

The proposal would shift water expenses and revenues away from the town's operational budget and into a separate water fund. Tewksbury's tax collector would continue to issue bills semiannually and collect payments.

Proponents say that over the coming fiscal year, the new system, called a water enterprise fund, would wipe out a projected $892,000 deficit from delivering water to homes and businesses, shrink a $1.7 million deficit in the town's operating budget, and protect residents from drastic cuts in town services.

While the financial impact on water users will vary according to consumption, all revenues would be used for water operations, and surpluses could be used to pay for improvements in water-related infrastructure. Under the current system, revenues from water-rate increases would go into the town's general fund, which would not guarantee that surpluses would be used for infrastructure.

But not everyone is sold on the concept. Joseph P. Gill, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said he is concerned about the size of rate increases.

''The issue isn't so much the enterprise fund as that part of the fund proposal that included a rate increase of about 20 to 30 percent. What we've said to the town manager is, 'Prove to us that we're losing money and that the tax rate is actually supporting water that's delivered to the citizens,' " said Gill.

Town Manager David Cressman has said the town's overall budget has been subsidizing water operations for two or three years, since the town began borrowing funds for various water-related projects.

The cost of borrowing is a large factor in the losses related to water operations, said Donna Walsh, finance director, who added that debt service will increase by about $200,000 from this fiscal year to the next, and by an additional $370,000 in fiscal 2008.

''For many years, the water operation was on a positive basis," said Cressman, ''but over the past few years, it's gone negative to a deficit position."

Under the current system, water revenues for fiscal 2006 are projected at slightly over $3 million, with a deficit of $892,000. With the increased rates under an enterprise fund, revenues would rise to $4.5 million, according to Walsh.

The proposal splits the town's residential and commercial users, based on their consumption. The categories for homes are low consumption (0 to 60,000 gallons a year), average users (60,000 to 150,000), and high users (150,000 and more).

The current water rates are $3.75 per thousand gallons up to 150,000 gallons, and $4.50 per thousand gallons over 150,000. Under the new scenario, water rates would increase to $4.69 per thousand gallons up to 59,999 gallons, $4.88 for consumption from 60,000 to 149,999 gallons, and $5.06 for consumption beyond that.

According to Walsh, the annual bill would rise by $101, or 30 percent, for the average residential user; $34, or 25 percent, for the low-volume user; and $267, or 35 percent, for heavy users. The increased rates are expected to raise about $953,000 in additional revenues.

This would be the town's first water rate increase in 12 years, said Walsh.

The deficit in water operations was discovered this spring after Selectman Jerome Selissen spearheaded a detailed study that considered such overhead costs as long- and short-term debt, staff salaries, and health insurance for current and retired personnel.

Cressman and Selissen presented their findings on May 17. Selectmen will vote next Wednesday on whether to recommend the plan to the June 25 Town Meeting, which would provide final approval.

Gill and Selectman John F. Ryan said they have not decided whether to support the fund. Selectmen John R. Mackey and Charles E. Coldwell could not be reached for comment.

''Selectmen are still on the fence," said Gill. ''The reason is, we have to be satisfied in our own mind that it's a cost shifting and not a backdoor tax increase."

Noting that the new billing procedure would reward people who conserve water, Selissen said he favors the enterprise fund. ''It's more equitable that your water rate should be based on usage," he said.

Residents with swimming pools, for example, draw upon the town's water supply more than residents who live alone and use water only for washing and drinking, he said.

Cressman is proposing the enterprise fund as a way of narrowing the projected deficit in the town's $71 million operational budget for fiscal 2006, which begins July 1. If Town Meeting rejects the idea, sharp cuts in town programs and services will be necessary, said Cressman, who declined to detail the cuts, saying they are still under discussion.

Gill acknowledged that the town could face ''severe cuts" that would ''affect the infrastructure of the community."

A few years ago, the town engaged in several water-related infrastructure projects, including sewer lines, water mains, a water storage tank, and fire hydrants. In addition, Walsh said, the state has required the town to replace water meters in homes and businesses over the next five years at an estimated cost of $2.5 million.

The enterprise fund will include an annual $25 fee per user to cover some of those costs, and an article at Town Meeting will seek approval to borrow $500,000 in each of the next five fiscal years for the project.

Joyce Pellino Crane can be reached at

Did Cressman provide the proof....or was Gill's words just more drivel???
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Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Postby duffyhouse on Wed Jun 22, 2005 4:37 pm

The BOS is meeting tonight-this subject is item #8 on their agenda. Meeting starts at 7:30 at Town Hall or on Ch. 10. BOS Agenda from the .info site:

1009 MAIN ST
JOSEPH P. GILL, JR., CHAIRMAN (978) 640-4300
Following is the agenda for Wednesday, June 22, 2005 Scheduled Agenda Items 1. 7:30 P. M. Cable TV Advisory Committee 2. 7:45 P. M. Cusano’s – Alter Premises 3. 8:00 P. M. Elks – Change of Manager 4. Resident (Limit 5 minutes per topic) Town Manager 5. Town Counsel Invoice 6. Labor Counsel Invoice 7. Pedestrian Crossing Signal – Main Street near Dewey 8. Water Rates & Water Enterprise Fund 9. Revaluation Executive Session10. AFSCME 11. IBPO/Superior Officers Details Approval of the Minutes 12. Reports a. Board Members b. Town Counsel c. Secretary d. Special Committees Unfinished Business 13. Town Warrant & FY’06 Budget Correspondence Information See Folder – Please Sign New Business 14. Rod & Gun Club-one day liquor license 15. Mills/Lowell Junction I-93-Design Vision 16. Annual Appointments-to be made 17. Johnny’s Market-common victualler license to be approved Adjourn"
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Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Postby The Lone Libertarian on Wed Jun 22, 2005 10:29 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR> Originally posted by swamper:
there WAS an alternative, less expensive design (though not sure by how much) presented which had to do with the type of tower as in domed and more visible rather than the flat MORE EXPENSIVE option. OH, WAIT...that would mean Cressman (who ENDORSED the more expensive design despite planning recommendations otherwise) would actually have to pass by and look at it every day HIMSELF since it was in HIS neighborhood.

BINGO!!! ....this IS a backdoor tax....

So you are FOR a tax increase if it goes into building a band-aid school repair that will be undone in 7 years OPPOSED by THE EVIL ONE the unenlightened call Cressman and THE EVIL ONE'S duly, popularly elected minions.... but OPPOSED to a tax increase if it is for a water tower SUPPORTED by THE EVIL ONE and his duly, popularly elected minions....

Is this about opposing Cressman or keeping taxes down?
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Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Postby swamper on Wed Jun 22, 2005 11:59 pm

LL...IMO...I don't consider the high school renovation a bandaid (even though I'm no longer directly affected) and I don't believe it would be "undone" in 7 years either. As for Cressman, it's no secret I dislike the guy with I think good reason for IMO, the irreversible damage he's done to this town during his (too long) tenure. I was merely pointing out that there WAS a less expensive option re. the water tower which was initially presented which he didn't support but I feel SHOULD have being the financial manager but chose not to do so IMO solely because it was in HIS neighborhood. Personally I'd rather my tax increase go to funding the schools than padding the salaries of administration and funding a water tower I doubt we'd need if it weren't for MORE ILL-PLANNED DEVELOPMENT. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! [img]images/smiles/icon_wink.gif[/img]
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Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Postby sean_czarniecki on Thu Jun 23, 2005 12:16 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by shot-n-mist:
Lets say $100 of my property tax is now dedicated to water related expense.

Now that $100 will be billed separately on my water bill.

I don't think I'm going to get a reduction or rebate on my property tax, so I'm looking at this from the standpoint that the original $100 is going to be spent elsewhere and this is a disguised tax increase.
I *love* this board! Here I was seriously assuming that all water-related expenses were (or should be) covered by our usage fees, until you made the first statement quoted above. I have generally considered the water-related expenditure articles as just "we need approval to borrow this money up front, but our water fees will recoup the costs." I also figured that the town was probably pulling more money in from fees than was probably necessary and that it was going into the general fund, where it was probably being used for non-water items that our taxes couldn't cover (why would I think that?). Now I get it. Our fees haven't gone up in a while and yet we've still been spending on water-related projects. This year, we finally *really* looked at the budget in this area and suddenly determined that fees should have been raised a long time ago. So we've actually been using property taxes for these improvements which should have probably been covered by user fees. You know, I'm not unintelligent, but it's funny how one can sometimes miss the little things. Thanks for opening that door for me.

Anyways - with respect to the enterprise fund, I'm sure most will agree that, overall, it should be a better way of managing the money for water-related items. However, as noted, the transition-phase clearly shows it as a backdoor tax increase. If the water fees being brought in exceeded the current water-related needs, changing to the enterprise fund would make sense so that my initial scenario wasn't taking place (water fees being used to supplement non-water-related needs). As things currently stand, the fees are going to go up in either case. The backdoor tax increase will happen either way, right? ...or are there limits in how much they can raise user fees? I'm guessing that the Town Manager recommends the new rates, the Selectmen say things like "I don't want this to look like a backdoor tax increase," the public gripes about it for 5 minutes at the podium, a local lawyer gets to discuss the benefits of it for 15 minutes (I just had to throw that in there), and then the Selectmen go along with the Town Manager.

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Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Postby tigerchief on Thu Jun 23, 2005 12:40 am

Yes,'re right....rates are going up....Enterprise Fund or no Enterprise Fund!!!!

The "Mangeler" recommends water rates....and the "Bored" approves same....

"Joe Taxpayer" has no input with regards to this decision......"Joe Taxpayer's" only option, is showing up at the polls and voting out some of the existing "Bored", and electing candidates who will seriously review the performance of the "Mangeler"!!!!........not likely
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Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Postby drfu100 on Thu Jun 23, 2005 12:54 am

Tiger, I haven't been here long enough to know if things have ever been this bad in Tewksbury, but when terms like "suicidal" and "bloodbath" are already being used to describe a $2.7 million projected budget shortfall for 07, one would think that would be enough motivation to start voting some of these guys out. Which Selectmen are up next for re-election and when??
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Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Postby tigerchief on Thu Jun 23, 2005 12:56 am

Ryan is next.....April
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Anyone got an extra 2 million?

Postby NIMBY on Thu Jun 23, 2005 10:50 am

Hey aren't there much more important questions we should be spending our time debating?

Like who is better....Sammy or Dave??
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