New Hartford town sign, from The New Hartford Facebook Page.
New Hartford town sign, from The New Hartford Facebook Page.
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NEW HARTFORD — The Board of Selectmen has set a special meeting for Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 5:30 p.m. to set a date for a town-wide referendum for a vote on whether or not to sell the town’s water and sewer assets.
At the selectmen’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 26, members of the board discussed setting the date of the referendum to Saturday, March 6.
The plans for the town to sell its water and sewer assets first were announced at a special selectmen’s meeting in January 2020 where members of the town’s Asset Evaluation Team revealed its plans to sell the town’s water and sewer assets to the Aquarian Water Company for $8 million.
At the meeting in January 2020, Team chairman Denton Butler said that the town put out a Request For Proposals to buy the assets.
Butler said that out of three bids the Aquarian Water Company was the only company that offered to buy both water and sewer assets.
The company’s website states that Aquarian serves over 700,000 customers in 57 towns and cities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
Butler said that the town’s Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) is unable to sustain daily operations and debt repayment without losing money under the current schedule of operations fees that were made in June 2017.
According to Butler, the ending loss for the Fiscal Year 2019 was $203,850, while the deficit for Fiscal Year 2020 is estimated at $263,025.
In 2020, the selectmen held various presentations of the proposed plan to sell water and sewer assets.
At a meeting in December, the town’s Board of Finance approved the proposed language for the town-wide referendum.
“The resolution is the same [as had been previously proposed] with one exception,” First Selectman Daniel Jerram said at the Jan. 26 selectmen’s meeting. “There’s a seventh proviso at the end that empowers the Board of Selectmen to take any and all actions to execute any and all documents as the board deems necessary and desirable to implement the resolution. In other words, we are empowered by the town to sign the contracts, to build a sewer line, to implement the subsidies to do the construction assistance. The Board of Finance would control the money while the Board of Selectmen would control the administration.”
Here is a link to the minutes of the Board of Finance’s regular meeting in December which includes the proposed language for the referendum question.

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