CROMWELL — After canceling a special meeting scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 27, Turkey Creek Regional Sewer District board gathered on a totally different topic during another meeting outside the regular schedule. On Thursday, Jan. 3, the board met at 3 p.m. to discuss a formal proposition from the town of Syracuse — an invoice of $140,000 and a disconnect date no later than Dec. 31 of this year.
The offer from Syracuse came in the form of an unexpected letter following several unsuccessful attempts by TCRSD to make contact via letter, as well. Locals may recall the TCRSD board members (with the help of district superintendent Timothy Woodward and independent rate consultant Jon Julian) have agreed to pay only a portion of each monthly invoice from the sister sewer district after large unexplained billing increases from Syracuse. After an investigation into the billing, Julian officially reported to the district a corrected rate of $2.02 per thousand gallons of flow; this is the rate the district reported to the town of Syracuse when confronted with the large price increases and a number board president Rex Heil said the town representatives agreed to.
Although Heil recalls the agreement well, he felt the TCRSD board was misrepresented when town of Syracuse leaders spoke out during a public meeting indicating the district was not paying its bills or the district was in litigation with the town of Syracuse. TCRSD has continued to pay the monthly invoices at the rate Julian proposed, tucking the difference away into an escrow account. The district also has no record of a lawsuit or litigation of any sort that involves TCRSD and the town of Syracuse.
Heil also felt the TCRSD team was singled out during a public meeting for “regular sewer backups” into homes on Medusa Street in Syracuse. Woodward and Heil noted it simply isn’t the case backups are anywhere close to a regular occurrence and mentioned the difficulty in determining which district’s flow is truly causing issues. Woodward indicated the Medusa Street location had gone over capacity four times in a three-year period due to heavy rains.
Due to the differences in payment, as well as an attempt to bill TCRSD for damages to homes on Medusa Street, the town of Syracuse was requesting more than $200,000 in payment to get in the black. The $140,000 offer would be a final payment to correct what the town of Syracuse felt was owed, but also wiped out the request for help with Medusa home damages. The board quickly made a motion to approve the measure of settling the issue and immediately began discussion on how soon the deal could be final. The letter also proposed Dec. 31, 2019, as a final disconnect date, something the TCRSD team had no problem agreeing to.
TCRSD has already begun the process of reversing flow so all of it will be treated by its plant exclusively. Woodward noted lines will be capped as a final measure to be sure no flow returns to the town of Syracuse. The TCRSD board will meet the third Wednesday of each month during 2019 beginning at 7 p.m.
The next meeting will be held at the Cromwell office Wednesday, Jan. 16.