Letter: Voters should think twice before they dissolve the sanitation district
October 29, 2009
To the Editor:
This letter is in response Mr. Anderson’s letter and your editorial on Oct, 28.
Thank you in your interest in the sanitation district. While I am very happy to see this issue in public consideration, I hope the voters will consider this choice very carefully.
Mr. Anderson is quite correct, this will not be the last time voters will have the opportunity to do away with the Fraser Sanitation District if the ballot issue is defeated. However, it could be the last chance to keep it.
As for your comments in support of dissolving the district: the reason “The town already handles a considerable amount of the districts business” is because both entities can see the obvious benefits of “enhancing efficiencies” and avoiding “duplication of equipment and services.” The town and district have been working together in this respect for many years and continue to do so.
We all want the same team to be looking at growth; all systems, water, sewer, streets and runoff, are reviewed by the same engineer and town planning staff. Does it make fiscal sense to have two sets of plans, maps and records or send two sets of bills? I believe this is a mutual agreement of both entities to avoid duplication of services and costly legal mistakes.
You ask “Which is better suited to cope with and make decisions about growth?” I agree, the town. That’s why they have a planning department to advise the town trustees who make those decisions. They also have the power to approve or deny water taps, which you will need if you expect to flush a toilet.
Historically , the district has always followed the town’s lead in planning and development. Sanitation board policy has always preferred developers annex into the town before or during annexation into the Sanitation District. Which brings me to another question: Would you prefer that a large development adjacent to town and the water supply wells for Fraser be on the sewer system, or should they be denied sewer and have all those homes on leach and septic merely because the developer refuses to voluntarily annex into the town?
You may be interested to learn that this was precisely the last annexation request the Sanitation Board has received. I am sure it is just a coincidence that the number of acres in that request was just below the threshold that would prevent a forced dissolution of the Sanitation District by the town (Remember divide and conquer?), even though much more contiguous land is owned and expected to be developed by the same party.
As for “Public accountability” and “Politically obscure district,” Sanitation District meetings are publicly noticed just like the town; in fact, in most locations, right next to them. Sanitation District board members are elected officials, just like town trustees and I would encourage anyone to run for office in either entity.
Sanitation board members directly oversee operations and employees of the district and are directly accountable to the electorate. The town trustees are directly accountable to the electorate; however, they utilize a town manager whose is not an elected official but an employee to negotiate with developers, hire and fire employees and make other important decisions.
I prefer direct accountability. If you do not like the way things are being run, wherever you are, learn the facts, run for office, and most importantly, vote. The above statements are solely my own and do not reflect the opinions of the entire board to the Fraser Sanitation District that I currently serve on. I am not a developer or a builder, just a concerned taxpayer and resident of Fraser.