Oak Bluffs voters to take up $26 million wastewater upgrade 

Voters will take up a $26 million upgrade to the Oak Bluffs wastewater treatment plant at the Nov. 8 election. — Abigail Rosen

In addition to considering candidates for elected positions on Nov. 8, voters will take up four state ballot questions. In Oak Bluffs, voters will be presented with Question 5, an option to vote for or against allowing a Proposition 2½ debt exclusion for expenses associated with the upgrade of the town’s wastewater treatment facility. 

At town meeting in May, voters approved a $26 million allocation toward the upgrade, contingent upon the Nov. 8 ballot vote approval.

Through the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Planning Project (CWMP), the town has been seeking funding through grants to help with expansion expenses. 

The cost of the upgrade is set to be split in half between taxpayers and users. Without additional funding, a taxpayer with a property valued at $1 million would be expected to pay just under $200 per year. 

On Thursday, a notice was issued by the wastewater department in order to help voters better understand the aim of CWMP so they can make educated decisions at the polls.

In a call with The Times, facility manager Patrick Hickey said the informational notice allows for more transparency by outlining the key points of the massive project. 

The town’s current wastewater facility became operational in 2002, and is now reaching its capacity, which impacts the ability to add new connections to the system. 

The upgrade will consist of expanding the treatment capacity to make room for the connections, and existing users who hope to develop, in addition to taking into account the town’s fragile environment when it comes to its estuaries.