Saugus FinCom sends back pump station article

SAUGUS – The Finance Committee on Wednesday voted unanimously to refer Article No. 6 in the annual Town Meeting warrant ? a proposal to construct a $618,000 sewage pumping station on Route 1 ? back to the Board of Selectmen.The article had become a source of controversy in recent weeks as town officials struggled to determine who should pay for the project.According to Town Manager Andrew Bisignani, the present Route 1 pump station is 35-40 years old and frequently in need of repair. Each repair costs the town money, he said, noting two engineering firms have recommended it be replaced.Town Meeting member Peter Manoogian has objected to paying for the pump station with local tax dollars. He said the developer of the Route 1 property should pay, as prescribed in a 2007 meeting before the Planning Board.A glitch in the process arose as the matter came before Town Meeting because there is no developer for the property just south of the McDonald’s restaurant on Route 1 north. As a result, the town cannot impose an assessment for the sewage-system work, which includes both construction of a pump station and upgrade of related pipes.”There is activity and interest in the property, but no developer of record,” said Town Moderator Robert Long.Selectman Steve Horlick said Saugus taxpayer dollars should not be spent on the pump station. “This should be put off until there is a developer,” he said, adding the town must nonetheless continue to make any repairs should the facility be in “imminent distress.”Manoogian, too, agreed with the Finance Committee decision. “I think your motion is a proper one,” he told the committee.When Town Meeting resumes Monday, the Finance Committee will officially recommend Article 6 be referred to the selectmen.”If there are questions, let’s hold off until fall,” said Bisignani. “Maybe by then we will know what development is going in there.”The Finance Committee last week voted to recommend Article 5, a project designed to eliminate sewer system overflows. Construction of a sewage pumping station on Elm Street to halt flooding and sewage spills in that neighborhood was contained in the warrant article. The article was submitted by the town manager.

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