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Saugus selectman hoping for further lowering of ‘I and I’ fee

SAUGUS – After a brief reprieve, the Inflow and Infiltration issue is about to rear its head again.Selectman Michael Kelleher used the first meeting of the new board to announce he would once again raise the issue of lowering the “I and I” fee paid by developers.Up until last January, builders – from large developers to homeowners looking to expand – were required to remove 10 gallons of wastewater from the town’s system for every one gallon they wish to add at a cost of $3 per gallon. Based on a usage formula of 110 gallons per day per bedroom it cost $9,900 to connect a three-bedroom house to the town’s sewer system at a 10-1 ratio.Prior to January, Kelleher had asked the board no less than four times to lower the fee, but his only support came from then-Chairman Peter Rossetti. Kelleher argued that developers were holding out on projects because they did not want to pay the fee, but his detractors argued that permits and licenses actually increased over the period on the 10-1 ratio.By January, however, the board finally agreed it was time to lower the ratio to 6-1, which dropped the cost to developers by nearly $4,000.Kelleher said Tuesday it was time to lower the fee once again and he is hoping the new board will agree and drop the ratio to 4-1.The new School Committee also has an old issue to deal with in terms of the still unresolved Merrowvista trip.Fifth graders have been taking a year-end trip for nearly 30 years with the last several spent at Merrowvista, an American Youth Foundation camp in Tuftonboro, N.H.But that plan came under fire in September when Superintendent Keith Manville told the School Committee that the School Department’s Special Education attorney Mary Gallant was not keen on the idea of fifth graders going on an overnight trip out of state.School Committee member Frederick Doucette said Thursday he feared “opening a can of worms,” but wondered if there had been any decision made concerning the trip.Manville said the elementary school principals had been working on putting together a list of alternative trips that would keep the students in state. Camps in Plymouth and Beverly were two areas of focus, he said.Doucette asked if there was any chance Merrowvista could be kept on the table if an iron clad permission slip were introduced, but it was thought that wasn’t likely.Committee member Christine Wilson said she didn’t think any permission slip would pass muster with Gallant.”Our legal counsel is really uncomfortable with the out of state travel,” she said.Manville said the schools will have to make up their minds quickly because the Veterans School, which generally takes the trip in June must let Merrowvista know ASAP if it will be attending.”June is a very busy month there,” he said. “I believe we’ll have to let them know soon.”When the warrant for the special Town Meeting hits the floor Monday, one of the articles likely to be taken up focuses on the naming of town-owned buildings.Town Meeting member Robert Hoffman submitted an article calling for Town Meeting to set policies and procedures for naming public buildings as well as criteria for whom they should be named.The article comes on the heels of the decisions to name two town-owned buildings after deceased town officials. Town Meeting voted two years ago to name the Youth and Recreation building after Christie Ciampa and last spring it voted to name the Public Safety building for former Town Manager Ed Collins.Selectman Michael Kelleher, who pushed to honor both Ciampa and Collins with buildings, said he opposed Hoffman’s article because he felt it politicized an already simple process.When discussions were held regarding naming something for both Ciampa and Collins, they were open to the public.”It was very democratic and citizens took time out to speak for or against it,” said resident Kevin Nigro.Nigro agreed with Kelleher that trying to set formal policies and procedures was a case of over-legislating a simple process.Hoffman, however, m

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