By Bob Katzen
The House gave initial approval to a bill that would allow cities and towns to create a water bank or sewer bank to offset the cost of new and upgraded water infrastructure projects. Communities would also be allowed to assess a fee on the project developer to offset the cost of the projects.
“When a new business or development joins an existing municipal system or water district, the cost burden of installation, connection and expansion of related wastewater and stormwater resources falls on the supplier, rather than the developer,” said sponsor Rep. Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston). “This legislation would allow municipalities or water authorities to assess a reasonable, proportionate fee which would then be designated for direct and ancillary water costs, ensuring that cities and towns are easily able to accommodate growth.”
“Well-functioning water infrastructure is critical to public health, economic growth and environmental protection,” continued Dykema. “This legislation will give cities and towns another tool to help fund the increasing cost of maintaining their crucial water systems.”
“I’m always concerned, even suspect, when the open-ended term ‘may collect a reasonable fee’ appears in a bill,” said Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. “What may be reasonable to one may not be to another. What is the basis for this proposed reasonable fee and how is that calculated, by whom, based on what?”