Friday, September 14, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere Except in Middletown

**UPDATE** The water connection ban has now been lifted by the Newport City Manager. Discussions on renewal of the sewer contract will continue.

Newport has, as they say, "hand." Middletown wants new water connections & Newport ain't giving them until it gets a better deal for its sewer agreement. At a recent Middletown Dem. Town Committee we were assured this was all set & had been negotiated. The Chair & others were upset with the Newport Council & the somewhat underhanded way this was handled. It was also considered that the Newport taxpayer would not like this & those Councilors in Newport better get on the ball to straighten this out.

Naive is a polite term for this thinking. Newport needs money. Middletown has extra. "Fault" depends on which side of the net you're on - could be good news, could be bad.

The Council in Newport has dynamics just as Middletown's does. To assume that Newporters don't approve of ceasing water connections to Newport until sewer leakage problems in the system effecting the harbor are taken care of is stupid. Why should Middletowners be allowed new contruction connections when Newporters can't? Give me a break!

Councilors in Middletown weren't listening when Newport Councilors spoke. Since Newport is non-partisan (and Middletown may as well be at this point), party ties won't help. It's an interesting situation. To think that when this referendum was passed last fall in Newport, that it would have NO effect here, may have been logical thinking, but certainly wasn't lateral thinking.

Does Middletown have anything that Newport wants is the next question. I believe that it does and this arena needs to be explored. This is the price Middletown now is paying for leaving all the water & sewer infrastructure to be managed by Newport (Portsmouth has its own water system). Hey, you can pay us now or you can pay us later. Later has come & this is just the beginning. And who can blame them? I pay taxes in both places.

You may start bidding farewell to all the "extra" money in the non-reserved funds. Letting Newport become aware of all this $ just sitting there, most definitely led to this problem. Too bad more of it wasn't returned to the taxpayer. This could be bye-bye to the fire station which is the planned receiver of much of these funds.

This is going to be an on-going situation with most, if not all, discussion going on behind closed doors. Expect to also start hearing a lot of rhetoric from both sides. The town should have started this negotiation as soon as that referendum passed instead of waiting until the Spring. Uh-oh. Can you say "legal extortion" if you're Middletowner or "Windfall" if you're a Newporter?
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