Sewer Contract

Being an effective Town Councilor involves more than always showing up and voting for what you believe is in the town’s best interest. Sometimes it involves threatening to expose what you think could be a disastrous decision. One time this happened was with the sewer contract.

When I was first elected, Duncan owned a run-down sewer collection system but no sewer treatment facility. We collected our sewer and pumped it to the sewer treatment facility run by the Town of Lyman. Both towns formed committees to negotiate a contract for Duncan to sell the collection system to Lyman since consolidating the system seemed like the best solution for all involved. Being the new guy, I wasn’t on the committee, but being an elected official did give me the right to monitor progress.

I made my campaign slogan for this re-election bid “Your Eyes and Ears on Council.” One of the reasons is because when “your eyes and ears on council” found out the sewer contract didn’t contain any language concerning how the Lyman Town Council would be allowed to set the sewer rates for citizens of Duncan, I threatened, quite clearly, that if the contract didn’t contain any language concerning sewer rates I was going to go to the newspapers.

The contract both towns eventually approved does contain language concerning sewer rates. It wasn’t the permanent solution I wanted, but I voted “yes” because it was a good contract that worked well for the area over the last five or six years. Due to the expansion of the system, primarily paid for by the industry annexed into Duncan, Lyman is receiving a significant increase in sewer revenue and Duncan is receiving increased tax revenue. One way to keep sewer rates and taxes on current residents from increasing is to increase revenue.

Thanks to everyone involved, selling the sewer collection system to Lyman was a huge win for the entire area. However, one potential problem remains, which is why the Town of Duncan sewer problem was rated as an unfinished campaign promise. The current language in the sewer contract will be expiring. The current language is that Lyman couldn’t raise the sewer rates of the residents of Duncan for ten years. If voters send your “eyes and ears on council” back for another term, I will push for the Duncan Town Council to have a strategy in place. A strategy will be needed if Lyman attempts to unfairly raise sewer rates on Duncan citizens more than Lyman citizens once the sewer rate language expires. It is better to investigate the options now rather than later.