This is the "Original and Unedited" letter to the editors. I am not responsible for their edits or typos.
PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF WATER MUST NEVER BE USED AS A SOURCE OF REVENUE TO CLOSE BUDGET GAPS IN SEEKONK.
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