Budget approved; Bath Fest a hit

Published 7:37 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013

 A Monday night round of ayes from Bath commissioners finalized the 2013-2014 Bath budget.

“It’s essentially the same (as previous years),” said Chip Edwards, Bath’s town attorney. “The only aspect that it’s anticipated to be different is the updating of the wastewater treatment center, taking into account revenue from customers and expenses incurred through construction.”

Bath’s new wastewater treatment center replaces an older facility deemed incapable of handling greater capacity. The state issued a moratorium in 2007 that prevented new homes and businesses from hooking up to, or putting a larger demand on, the existing facility. The coming year will have the much-needed new treatment center up and running, and launch the process of getting residents and businesses on board.

“Next fiscal year will involve a lot of public education about the wastewater project — when everyone on the waiting list will be allowed to hook up,” said Bubs Carson, Bath’s town administrator. “We’re going to have to do a series of letters and notifications through the coming year, just so people know what’s expected of them, including cost estimates to let them know how much it will cost to hook up to the new system.”

Other items on the agenda included a report by the organizers of Bath Fest on the success of the May 18 festival and a presentation by Bath High School Preservation representative Sandra Harrison about the renovation of the building slated to become a community center, library included. Harrison said the interior phase of the project had begun.

Another speaker added to the agenda was John Baldwin, member manager of Bath Bridgewater South LLC. Under discussion was road maintenance of the company’s access road for its Catnip Estates subdivision. The company filed for bankruptcy in late 2011/early 2012.

According to one local resident at the meeting, Baldwin indicated to the council that letters written by neighboring landowners caused the bankruptcy process, and therefore the access-road resolution, to stall. The letters pointed out to Capitol Bank officials that Catnip Estates could not be sold as “water access” because town approval had not been granted for the one lot that could provide water access, according to the resident. Capitol Bank refused to accept 30 Catnip Estates lots as payment of Bath Bridgewater South LLC’s debt.

“We don’t feel like we can be pulled into that,” Carson said about the emotional nature of the issue. “We just feel like we need to adhere to our ordinances. That’s the council’s stance.”

Attempts to reach Baldwin were unsuccessful.