The Town of Plainville dodged a bullet on Tuesday after voters went to the polls and approved upgrades to the water pollution control facility.
The improvements to the system will cut phosphorus levels in the water discharge from the plant and in turn will reduce algae in the water.
Thanks to the 193 votes in favor of funding the project at a cost of more than $15.7 million to the town, the potential of a loss of state aid was avoided.
A state grant will cover $6.5 million of the costs and the rest will be paid for via a 20-year, 2 percent loan. The project is expected to begin this summer, Herald/Press reporter Brian Johnson noted in a story Wednesday.
Although turnout at the polls was light, had the referendum not passed, the town could have been fined for non-compliance.
Like most cities and towns in Connecticut, Plainville is struggling with a budget crunch.
If voters had not OK’d the measure, the town would probably have been forced to make the improvements anyway at a greater cost to taxpayers in the long-run.
Town Manager Robert E. Lee said he was a little disappointed with the low voter turnout, but ultimately relieved that the referendum passed.
More often than not, Connecticut residents have seen elected officials use stop-gap measures to temporarily fix a looming infrastructure problem that carries a hefty price tag. While this approach may satisfy some, the reality is that a kick-the-can-down-the-road approach never really solves the problem.
“People clearly understood what was going on and that we needed to do this in order to save money,” Lee said.
We commend the voters for agreeing to address the issue head-on when the cost is manageable.
A vote to reject the plan would have come at a much higher cost.