Letter to the Editor: Something stinks in Trumbull

To the Editor:

Something stinks in Trumbull, and it’s the $10.6 million in sewer costs that are being thrust upon taxpayers without any town approval, oversight or transparency. The Town Council met on Feb. 28 to discuss this issue, and not one Republican, including Tim Herbst, said one word about this being a problem.

The Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) is in charge of sewer projects. The Board of Finance and Town Council approved $34.5 million in bonding for the latest sewer project (Contract IV). Right now, the total anticipated cost of the project is $37 million, an overage of $2.5 million! Yet at the Town Council meeting, the Republicans were silent about this.

Unlike other sewer projects, a significant amount of Contract IV funds was spent on non-sewer costs, such as engineering oversight and road paving. In the past, minor road paving was done once sewer pipes were installed and the cost was included in sewer assessments. By contrast, under Contract IV, some roads were given a complete overhaul at considerably higher cost—using sewer money rather than road paving money—and most of that cost is being passed on to all taxpayers. The decision to do this was made with no approval by the Board of Finance or Town Council.

These non-sewer costs now total $10.6 million dollars, which are going to have to be paid by all Trumbull taxpayers. Traditionally, taxpayers pay 25% of the amount bonded for sewers, and the homes that receive sewers pay 75%. With Contract IV, taxpayers must pay $10.6 million plus 25% of the balance of the bonded amount, for a total of a whopping 46% of the sewer bond! This is outrageous, especially since whoever made that decision did so without any approval by the Board of Finance or Town Council. Town residents, including those without sewers, must contribute almost half the cost of the money for Contract IV. And at the Town Council meeting on February 28, not one Republican said a single word about this being a problem!

What makes matters even worse is that not a single WPCA member came to the Feb. 28 Town Council meeting to discuss Contract IV. A previously scheduled meeting with WPCA members had to be cancelled because they could not attend. Yet not one Republican said a word about this being a problem.

All of these shenanigans have been done without transparency and without approval by the Board of Finance or Town Council on how the Contract IV funds were going to be spent. Apparently the Republican Town Council majority and Tim Herbst have nothing to say about this kind of questionable decision-making that affects every Trumbull taxpayer. We deserve better!

Cindy Katske