To the Editor:
I just received my biannual Oak Bluffs water bill. I totally understand the need to upgrade a well, if it has to be done to supply the people of Oak Bluffs with the water that is needed. What I do not understand is the statement on my bill that there is a charge, identified as the capital improvement fund, authorized by the Oak Bluffs water commissioners to “bring back the property to as much of the original grandeur and allow for supervised public access and educational opportunities.”
I do not believe that at the time the Oak Bluffs pumping station was built that there was any grandeur involved. It was built with the materials available at that time, out of the need for a larger water supply. Now that there are cheaper and very durable materials available, why is it that the water pumping station needs to be restored to grandeur?
One million dollars over four years to pay for someone’s vanity? It’s a building whose purpose is and always has been to supply water! Why is it that the ratepayers of Oak Bluffs have to pay for something that is not needed for their water supply, but for making it pretty? Everyone knows we need more wells, which need to be paid for by us the ratepayers. Why do the commissioners not look into this problem, instead of saddling us with making things pretty? We are going to pay for this over four years, $1 million, then the charges go away?
Anyone who knows how any government works knows that at the end of four years, the rates are not going to go down. I am willing to bet that within the next four years, the rates will increase, to upkeep old wells or find locations for new wells. The money that is being spent on this project is not needed other than to make the well work as well as possible and to make it secure.
The water district is listed as a nonprofit. Most nonprofits ask for money, not take it. How is it that we need a new town hall, which has to be approved at town meeting, but what I understand as a historical restoration does not? It’s time for the water commission to be held to the same requirements as any other government agency. Let the people decide where their money is needed to be spent. Put the water department under the control of the selectmen and all expenditures before the people.