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 Water Commissioner Candidate Letter

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PostWater Commissioner Candidate Letter

This is the "Original and Unedited" letter to the editors. I am not responsible for their edits or typos.

I am Christine Allen and I am running for Water Commissioner in Seekonk.
There have been suggestions that the Town of Seekonk should take over the Water District. Not on my watch! It must remain its own separate entity. I have seen first hand the fighting that goes on over who gets the cash, town side or school side. The Water District should never become part of the 35-65 budget split tug-of-war.

In order to maintain the purity of the water supply, when repairs or improvements are needed, they must be made as the Water District sees fit, and not be held hostage at a Town Meeting. There is an old adage, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” I think some members of the Board of Selectmen are seeing dollar signs dancing in their heads. You see, the Water District doesn’t come under Proposition 2 ½, and in my opinion they would like to try to impose a Water Tax!

Water is a basic necessity of life. It must be of a high quality, and available at a reasonable cost for all of us. These goals can be achieved by supporting the top-notched staff and increasing the customer base.

If elected, I will propose the following consumer friendly projects to the board:

Mail estimated quarterly water bills to be sent out at the same time as the actual bills, with different due dates. (Just like we get our real estate tax bills). This will help the Water District because it will improve cash flow, cut down on overdue accounts, and reduce costs. The customer will be helped because the quarterly payments will be smaller.

Establish a website. The first place that most people now go to for fast reliable information is online. A website will be an educational tool for both young and old. In the event of a water emergency, emails could be sent to customers immediately, rather then waiting and hearing it on the evening news or in the next day’s newspaper.

Make paying your bills easier by accepting credit card/debit card payments. Develop an electronic payment method.

It is important to understand that the day to day operation is the responsibility of the Superintendent who is licensed. He runs the facility with consultation with the three Water Commissioners. We do not need another person in town micro managing. One of my opponents claims he is the person to “successfully run the Water District”.

The Water District is a business. My business experience will help me perform the job. I have common sense along with the necessary skills to listen, question, and have discussions with the other two Water Commissioners, the Superintendent as well as the Treasurer. The Water District also retains the services of an engineering firm.

I am a customer of the Water District and I have deep ties to Seekonk. My home has been in my family since the 1950’s. I plan on living here for many years and want to keep the cost of water tax free and affordable for all of us. The Water District must remain a separate entity.

I do not have any relatives employed by the Town or Water District.
I have reviewed the approved contractors and supplier lists and I have no connections, conflicts or affiliations that would interfere with the awarding of bids and or contracts. Can my opponents state the same?

Thank you for your consideration on April 6.
Christine Allen, Candidate for Water Commissioner
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Water Commissioner Candidate Letter :: Comments

To encourage water conservation and reduce per person water consumption, as mentioned as a goal in the Meet the Candidates show, I would like to make a suggestion to the Water Board candidates. Please consider offering free rain barrels to Seekonk residents to use for outdoor watering. I know that the DPW offers reduced cost barrels but they are still pricey. If the Water Dept were able to fund some (25 to 50?) free barrels per year and offer them on a first come basis or by lottery, I think that would encourage their use. The stats on how much water can be collected from the roof when it rains just 1 inch are really impressive.
The rain barrels have screening on top to keep out mosquitos amd debris.They are perfect for collecting water for plants, gardens and lawns.
I know we have watering restrictions in place during the summer but not everyone follows them. This may help support the watering restrictions by offering an alternative source for outdoor water.
Is there any grant money or funding available to support this?
Re: Water Commissioner Candidate Letter
Post on Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:29 pm  anawan3
From: "anawan3" <>
Date: Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:18 pm

I too have brown grass in the summer! My vegetable garden comes before green
grass. It is a temporary condition and the added bonus is I don't waste gasoline
or time cutting it! On the cable show I mentioned putting information on a
website to encourage conservation. At the library open forum I discussed the
schools needed to conserve water not because of just the cost, but because water
itself is a valuable resource and should never be wasted.

When it rains I save rainwater in those short tubs with rope handles to water
flowers as the water barrels are costly. (don't want to get mosquitos either)
Your idea is an excellent one, but I would go further. Why limit ourselves?
Have a town wide water barrel program. Since there are potential state plans
that would require Seekonk to reduce water consumption by 15 gallons per capita
by 2014, it certainly wouldn't hurt to try to get a grant for rainbarrels to
accomplish this. Even if it is only to get the price reduced. If elected, I
will put this on the to-do list!

Maybe the Park Committee can look into getting a grant for a waterless restroom
facility since there are no plans to install anything but trees! (There are
toilets that work on an incineration system)

My bill is about $100 annually and it isn't a problem either. Unfortunately
there are those folks who are in difficult straits. I suggest we continue
sending out bills twice a year with actual readings, but like our real estate
tax bills offer two stubs each mailing, pay the full amount or make two payments
with different due dates (one could be an estimated bill)no additional postage
on the water dept. Customers that are shut off face reconnect fees of $25 to
$100, as well as interest and late fees.

Hope I addressed your concerns.

Christine Allen
Candidate for Water Commissioner
Re: Water Commissioner Candidate Letter
Post on Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:07 pm  mkreyssig
terrybohax wrote:

I know we have watering restrictions in place during the summer but not everyone follows them.
Is there any grant money or funding available to support this?

Do we? I never know because the information is never out there.
I guess I usually stumble across the watering restrictions in the Seekonk Star or on Cable 9. It's never very obvious. Usually during a serious dry spell the local Providence news will announce that towns are instituting water bans and then I check into it. And my neighbors who don't have cable tv (gasp!) and don't buy the Star never know about the restrictions and lots of other stuff going on either. Anyone know what the official vehicle is for notification of an outdoor water restriction?

I was visiting Fairhaven MA this weekend and I was impressed that their local access channel was broadcasting short tips for household water conservation (when brushing teeth, etc.). Even if you don't agree or implement the tips, it keeps water conservation fish fresh in your mind. That's something we could try here in Seekonk.
Also, last summer they were changing water sources and had large signs posted at major thoroughfares about strict water conservation during the cut-over period. When the cutover was done, the signs indicated it was back to normal. I have to give them credit for doing a great job. cheers

A Seekonk Water District website would be a great idea to get info out. For example, we were making lasagne a few weeks ago on a Wednesday afternoon and just when we went to draw water to boil the noodles, the water came out brown. We let it run for a while and still brown. Luckily we had bottled water on hand to use. Not sure if it was a scheduled flushout or a fluke. A valuable lesson that it is good to have gallons of bottled water on hand for emergencies.
Re: Water Commissioner Candidate Letter
Post on Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:39 pm  mkreyssig
Same thing happened to me.

But....I will say I was doubtful that was going to get anyone on the phone at 8:30pm from the water district, but much to my surprise I got a real live person who was kind enough to tell me they had been flushing fire hydrants and to let the water run for 5 or 10 minutes.

Water Commissioner Candidate Letter

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