Saturday, September 26, 2009

Flying low to avoid detection

From what it appears, this information is being kept under pretty tight wraps; even I kept it under wraps until now:

The DPS will be asking the City Council on Monday for money for emergency repairs to the city's clear well. That's an underground cistern (tank) where our drinking water is held before being sent out to homes.

From what I understand, DPS Director Brendan O'Regan brought it before the council as information at the special meeting of the City Council that was held last Wednesday and which was ... well, not really well attended (although it was posted, I am told).

That meeting was called so the Council could go into executive session to discuss the taking 115 Water St. by eminent domain to be part of the upgraded sewer plant facility.

Another fun episode of "it was posted." Funny how when things are on the agenda that might alarm or inflame the public, no one really knows about the meeting (usually I am notified by someone or the other when a special meeting has been called).

As soon as I heard about this clear well thing, I marched into the water/sewer dept. and confronted Dan Sweeney, who said I should speak to Brendan but who also mentioned the word "collapse."

It's an old, old system and so indicative of how our infrastructure is crumbling. When I talked to the candidates for mayor, I think both of them brought up sidewalks and there was a question about the sewer plant so that was discussed but I have never really heard anyone - other than O'Regan and his staff - bring up the dire situation at the water treatment facility.

I attempted to speak O'Regan yesterday but when I called him, he said he was at the dentist and would call me back. Maybe he tried; I was out most of the afternoon. It was after City Hall closed at noon.

I am guessing that both these things fall into the category of "late file items" since I don't see either one on the agenda I got from the clerk's office.


Ari Herzog said...

Open Meeting Law requires 48 hours' notice of posted government meetings, except if an emergency meeting. Do you know when this was posted on the city hall bulletin board? (It's not on the city's website calendar.)


Gillian Swart said...

I have no idea. All I was told is that it was posted and too bad if no one checked the board. They have to have the land by Oct. 3, I believe, which is an ARRA deadline.

Dick Monahan said...

What would be the point of keeping the well problem quiet? It has to be fixed. The ratepayers have to pay for it.

And, even if "they" had a reason to keep it quiet, did you?

Gillian Swart said...

Yes, Dick - I thought that if I heard back from Brendan I could write the story for the Current and it could go on line at the same time as yesterday's issue. I do, after all, make almost all of my money from writing for the Current (and zero income from the blog).

I don't know why "they" would want to keep it quiet. It was mostly the eminent domain thing I was carrying on about.

I don't think there was much sneakiness (if indeed there was intentional sneakiness) about the water plant issue - Brendan has been warning about the conditions there for years. I guess it's not as "sexy" as the sewer plant. ugh

Tom Salemi said...

The meeting notice should have a time stamp on it, I think.