In a close vote, the Board of Aldermen voted to approve the creation of a Water and Sewer Enterprise Fund at the Monday night meeting, reversing an earlier vote in December.
The approval of this fund was not without heated remarks by Aldermen on both sides of the issue.
One camp claimed that a new agency would be created and end up costing taxpayers more money.
The other camp claimed that this system will benefit the small ratepayer and provide greater transparency and actual cost to a system that is a drain on city finances.
“We have a broken water system,” Alderman Robert Van Campen said. “We will not lose control but this fund will give us greater control. Two-hundred other communities in Massachusetts have approved the creation of this fund,” he added.
“This is just a trick to reduce real estate taxes and increase water rates,” Alderman Charles DiPerri told his colleagues. “This is a way to go around the Proposition 2 ½ limit.”
Four Aldermen voted for the measure. They are: Millie Cardello, Michael Mangan, Robert Van Campen and Sal Sachetta. Alderman Michael Marchese, Joseph McGonagle and DiPerri voted against the motion.
The Common Council in a 13-2 vote last week also approved the establishment of the fund. In December, this measure was defeated when the Board of Aldermen in a 4-3 voted not to approve the fund after the Common Council had voted to approve it.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria on Tuesday morning said, “I’m thrilled that the Common Council has again brought the Enterprise fund to the floor and that we are moving forward and setting up the fund.
“We’ve discussed this opportunity numerous times in the past and presented our findings to the Board. We found more pros than cons, much more than we expected and will realize an enormous benefit to the city,” he said.
“In talking with other Mayors this is a great operational and budgeting tool. With an Enterprise Fund, we’ll have greater control over the water and sewer department – this is a great step forward for the City.”