PEPPERELL — “Unfortunate and very unexpected” was DPW Director Kenneth Kalinowski’s response to the announcement from the Governor’s Office that only half of the $300 million Chapter 90 funding approved by the House and Senate would be released to the cities and towns this year.
“This recent move will equate to a 25 percent decrease in our annual Chapter 90 funding, which, as you know, is our sole source for road repairs,” said Kalinowski.
Pepperell will receive approximately $312,000 for Fiscal 2014.
“This will obviously impact the level of road repairs that we’ll be able to construct this summer,” he said.
The reduction will result in deferring projects such as Railroad Square, River Road and Elm Street.
“That was a real kick in the pants to lose that funding. We had hoped to do a lot of work this summer,” said Kalinowski.
Although Kalinowski held out some hope that additional funds could be released later in the summer, he felt it would be too late in the paving season for the town to take advantage of it.
Trash bags available for seniors
Seniors in Pepperell will soon have the option of purchasing 14-gallon trash bags for trash disposal at the Transfer Station. The unique purple bags will be available at the Senior Center for $1 each beginning in early August, and will not require the use of bag tags.
“They will only be available at the Senior Center,” said Kalinowski.
“Potentially, it could be a good case study should the town ever decide it wants to switch wholesale from the tag system to a bag system,” he said.
Interest to accrue sooner on unpaid bills
Sewer and Water Superintendent Laurie Stevens reviewed a draft of the Water Shutoff Policy. The new policy is seen as a means to reduce the burden on the town of past due accounts. The new policy calls for interest to begin accruing if the outstanding bill is not paid within 30 days. Current practice does not accrue interest for six months.
“Everything we’ve been doing with charging the interest, getting ready for quarterly billing and so forth — it’s all geared toward people being on a more regular payment schedule … that they will pay their bills on a regular schedule,” said Kalinowski.
Commissioner Paul Brinkman suggested looking at the number of accounts that would be immediately affected by the new policy to ensure that customers have enough time to catch up with their bills.
“It’s a significant amount, but after they get this, I think it will be reduced,” said Stevens.
The board approved the reappointment of all DPW bylaw employees as well as department head employees. Terms for the bylaw employees will be nonexpiring going forward. Department heads will have three-year renewable terms.