COVENTRY — Local legislators and residents met for an update this week on three bills related to Coventry’s sewer program currently pending in the general assembly, including H7205, 7051 and 7206 in the House, and S2010, 2020 and 2085 in the Senate, sponsored by the town’s local delegation. The town’s sewer program is still under review by the state Auditor General, and is also awaiting a final report from Citrin Cooperman, the firm the town hired to perform its own review.
The bills and their companion counterparts involve restrictions on the amount of interest the town can charge residents, making it mandatory to connect to sewer lines upon the sale of a property and a bill amending the town’s sewer system enabling legislation to allow appropriations from the town tax fund for wastewater system projects only after voter approval.
Senator Lou Raptakis had good news for a group of concerned residents about their fate on the Senate side, but Representatives Patricia Serpa and Sherry Roberts did not bring good news from the House.
S2020 passed the Senate 34-0 on May 30 and is now with the House Municipal Government Committee, while S2010, involving the amount of interest the town can charge, was placed on the Senate calendar for June 13. S2085 was recommended to be held for further study by the Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee.
“Many members listened to the stories the people of the community had to offer them and that bill passed the Senate,” said Raptakis.
“We’re not being as successful in the House,” said Serpa. “The House speaker does not feel that we should be passing these bills because the Auditor General is not finished with his audit yet. So he says why would we want to tie his bands or bind his hands because we don’t know what he’s going to find. So to pass new laws that limit him in terms of his recommendations he said is self-defeating.”
“I think in the long run it’s supposed to be better for you, but right now unfortunately it’s not good news, at least temporarily,” said Roberts. “I truly do think the Speaker and the General Assembly want to help. We just need to give them more time. I think that’s the only option.”
The group also discussed the possibility of moving forward on recalls for certain members of the Coventry Town Council, as well as the possibility of the budget being voted down at the Coventry Financial Town Meeting on June 12, which is expected to have a high voter turnout.
Kendra Port on Twitter @kendrarport