Three posts in one day – I must be on a roll. Actually, I’m really steamed and needing to vent.
In the past week or so we’ve noticed spray painted markings on our road (as well as several others near us). We guessed that they were in advance of some kind of road work. You know, the “Dig Safe” kind of thing. This morning a water dept. truck stopped in front of my house to mark the water lines. Being the shy gal that I am, I wandered outside to chat. So … what are these markings all about. I wish I hadn’t asked.
Our house is on a dead end street, a fairly steep hill. We’re at the top – only two houses after us on each side. We live in a small town in Massachusetts. We have all the utilities except town sewers. When these houses were built over 50 years ago, they had what are called cesspools. A hole in the ground with, in our cases, a wooden cover into which the sewage pipe from the house empties. In the past 5-10 years, most of them have started to fail. Also, Massachusetts passed a law, Title 5, that specifies the standards that septic systems must now meet in that time frame. When ours started going about 8 years ago, we had a fabulous new septic system and leach field installed. Cost ran between $10,000 and $15,000 due to the ledge on this hill and the poorly draining soil. My whole back yard is now a leach field under the grass. Cuts down on fertilizer, I guess. Also cut down one of my 40′ oak trees. I hated that!
Well, the markings on the road are because they are in the planning stages of putting in town sewers here and on those other streets. They are coming to bore test holes to see what is below the street – soil, ledge, etc.
What? No one asked us! Well, actually, someone from one of the other streets came around last year asking if we wanted to sign a petition requesting town sewers and we said no. I don’t recall any neighbors who said yes. Fact is, 5 of the houses on the street have sold in the past few years and the septic systems were replaced at the time of sale due to Title 5. So all those folks have already invested a lot of money in that crap, like we have. Some others have also.
What’s got me so steamed is that, in order to have our say, we have to go to the town meeting. If you don’t have a town meeting style of government in your town, be happy. In this town, where there’s always some kind of controversy brewing in the government, we have selectmen and a town meeting. That’s where a very small minority of registered voters go to a meeting, try to have their say if they can get called on by the town moderator, then decide by voice vote (unless polling is requested) how the whole town is going to run. I tried to go to town meetings for a while, to be an involved citizen. It was a farce. The same old faces, the same arguments time and again, the same results. No creativity. No real representation. It’s like having a committee of 10 make the decisions for the city of New York.
Other tidbits that fueled my steam:
*You have no choice. If they put in the sewers, you must tie in to them. Period. End of discussion. Doesn’t matter what you already have or how much you spent on it.
*Once they put in the sewers, they take the total cost of the project and divide it up among the land owners. They called it a “betterment.” I call it . . . sewage! Due to the fact that there aren’t a lot of houses along a big stretch, I was told the cost could run around $8,000!!!
*You also have to pay a contractor to do the actual connection to the town lines. God knows what that will cost.
*If you can’t pay the “betterment” fee, it will be added to your property tax bill. If you have a mortgage, that monthly payment will be shooting up! There will also be a lien placed on your property. Nice!
*This quiet little neighborhood with only one way in and the same way out will become congested with construction vehicles, men and noise. You know how much I love noise. Since I know for a fact they will find ledge when the bore the test holes (there was plenty of it when they did my septic system), there will also be blasting. Really big noise and lots of vibration. I’m getting out the digital camera to document the condition of my house before they start work. I’ve seen what blasting can do to a house! I also worry about my cat, who goes psychotic at the sound of thunder a mile away. I’m afraid he might die of fright.
Sad to say, but I’m going to have to let my husband be the rabble rouser on this one. With the fibromyalgia, I don’t have the energy to start a grass roots campaign. I think I’ll start planning a vacation that we can take if we hear the work will be done. A long vacation. Board out the cat. Send my son to stay with his aunt or grandmother. Call a neighbor to find out when they’re done.
Or maybe I’ll deal with all this … sewage …. they way my daughter did with things she didn’t like when she was small – cover ears and sing . . . Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala………….