Thanks to Monica M. for her orders regarding the water and sewer debacle in this city. Let's see, will any other Alderman second any order or will they all play opossum? The BOA should get the message. The Override failed in LARGE part because of the "fuzzy math" related to how the rates are set...Pat, Melrose CFO will probably show his abusive side once more, if the process is questioned. Thank goodness for Aaron L. of the Free Press. Great article today on the front page regarding water "SEWAGE"!
Glad Jessica left FP and handed it over to a real reporter. JS can write PR junk for the MPS!
Why do we pay benefits to water dept employees from our water bills? This should come out of our taxes right? What is going on ? No wonder why our bills are outrageous. This is I guess a hidden tax? Is there extra money? How do we pay for the BOA benefits?
Why was Brigid Alverson's salary paid under water and sewer?
Her costs just moved back to the Mayor's office budget!
There is no excuse for this city's citizens sitting by and allowing the manipulations to continue. Whether the incompetent and highly political city solicitor says something is okay or not is inconsequential as far as what is actually legal or what is actually being done. He is doing only what he is being told to do, and not one shred of due diligence beyond. In other words, he will cook anything to come out the way RD insists it must, as will PDR. And both boards are toeing the line (except for MM), "arguing" once in a while to make it look like they're standing up for citizens, but in fact playing all ends against the middle. The couple of city solicitors on the BOA are shirking their due diligence roles just as the city's own is, only taking the "arguments" as far as the politics are expedient and not one step beyond (like towards the TRUTH of the matters). Watching RVC this week dance along the edge of the state laws regarding setting of water rates made this abundantly clear. What a hack and what a sham. He didn't even bother to cover for himself when asked if he had ever bothered to ask the state authorities critically important questions. Of COURSE he hadn't. That might mean he'd have to lie officially, which he's just a little too slick to do during a public meeting. He just danced around the language as the pompous and officious poseur that he is.
We all owe Philip Taymor and Gerry Mroz huge gratitude for their eloquent statements of fact and elucidations around the real issues about Water & Sewer Rates. The BOA should be ashamed of itself for their brazenly political conduct. Every one of us is paying hugely and in many ways for the corruption of all processes in Melrose now.
They play these games so these monies aren't accountable under Prop 2 1/2 guidelines. Let's call it what it is - they are unprincipled thieves.
Let's see, will anyone show up for public participation during the W&S rates discussion tonight? Let's see, will any BOA member show leadership in regards to taxpayer W&S bills (besides MM)? Let's see, did the BOA get the message during the last election that Melrose residents will no longer support them unless they act on our behalf? Voters will not support raising taxes for anything unless local government is accountable, fair, and transparent. Let's see, if the BOA understands why the Override went down in flames!
Let's not forget that some of the BOA are still getting their health insurance through the city thanks to the Mayor - no change expected! These folks are bought and owned by the Mayor.
Which BOA members still "TAKE" Health Insurance?
Which retired/lifers BOA members still get it?
Budget details, please.
One of the reasons I voted No more on the Override.....
Did you watch the BOA meeting last evening and the public comments on the water rates? Gerry Mroz as usual gave a clear, cogent, and rational justification for going back to a single rate with several other changes to make the rates less disruptive initially to those most impacted by the change. Mroz provided the BOA with numerous statistical charts developed by the National Water Association and the MWRA to show how Melrose water/sewer charges are dramatically higher than all but several of the 35 communities in the MWRA.
Also, it is now clear by the discussion last evening that the Mayor has been adding indirect city costs to the water enterprise fund to reduce the impact on the budget and to avoid exceeding 2.5% increase in taxes. These indirect costs include staff costs, health insurance, etc which have nothing to do with water costs. Congratulations to Alderman Monica Medeiros for asking Patrick Dell Russo (city CFO) to come back and define these indirect costs to the BOA in more detail since they are ill defined in the proposed budget. The next discussion of this matter promises to be very revealing if Dell Russo does his job as requested - but don't count on it - he is the Mayor's man - and runs interference for him. The BOA will need to draw a line in the sand on this matter - transparency is the only solution in solving this problem - but sadly not a trait of this administration.
Our BOA better take heed and begin to seriously address the concerns of the citizenry concerning skyrocketing water/sewer rates, otherwise there will be a dramatic change in the membership of this Board at the next election.
You fool. The price of water isn't important. It takes money to get things done. Prop 2.5 is unrealistic and you need to find money anywhere you can. I don't care if my water bill pays or my tax bill pays. As long as we have good schools, fire, police, it's fine.
My water bill actually went down since the new pricing structure came into place. It was less than $200 in the last quarterly payment. And this is for a family of 4.
Why, you might ask, does the city try to inappropriately squeeze every cent they can out of us with no apparent regard for the consequences they cause? Ask yourself this - where has the Mayor continued to dump money for political gain? What department expends more than 70% of city revenues?
If the price of water isn't important, that it follows that the price of oil and gas aren't important, the price of food isn't important, the price of health care isn't important, ad infinitum.
A three and a half million dollar surplus came from permit fees? In what galaxy do you spend most of your time?
It is far better to remain silent and be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and confirm it.
I have been a Dolan supporter since his election, and will continue to vote for him as long as he runs for re-election. He has done more for infrastructure improvement in the City of Melrose than 50 years of combined Mayors before him. With that said he needs to abandon his water strategy. It was a mistake. Charging multi-unit structures at the tier 3 rate defies logic. The alderman should have never allowed this in the first place. In his entire term of office the water rate is his biggest mistake. He should own up to the mistake and fix it.
Watched the alderman meeting from last night. Still laughing at the thought of some aldermen claiming to perform their own calculations. As if they have any idea what to calculate.
GI talked around herself trying to justify the 4B option. Labeled herself a great compromiser while nastily putting down PM. Her contempt for MM also showed when she mentioned that MM's order (which never got a 2nd vote) had expired. Her boy toy MZ sounded like a sore loser comforting himself for fighting the good fight (doing the Mayor's bidding) for 4B but accepting defeat. MBMM was right when she stated that the override went down in large part because of water and sewer rates.
Yeah well Crocodile Tears Ms. MBMM ("I love Peacocks") was an utter failure on this issue, as she is on nearly everything, just another rubber stamp for the guy who promised her GIC in exchange for his 26% raise.
Bend over everyone, because the BOA has just rubber-stamped virtually everything Rob and Cyndy demanded (as if either one has any legitimate credibility!), and we're all going to get screwed with their end-run around Prop 2.5 with increased taxes, increased water-and-sewer rates, increased fees (up as much as 20% ! for Ed Stations, outrageous as that is). And only the handful of devoted public citizen-advocates bothered to show up, as per usual. What a disgrace.
Thank you Monica for trying so hard and proving you are in the right so many times (regardless of what the rest of the dunderheads vote). Thank you Don (sort of); you're starting to get the hang of having some cojones and it becomes you; now follow up and do this consistently. Scott, you need to grow up and stop getting hot under the collar when you're called out by citizens who've done far better homework than you did (despite the fact that you get paid to do this and are sworn to do that due diligence). No matter what kind of lousy "evidence" or "recommendations" brought in by paid consultants or city hacks, you have a responsibility to analyze things yourself and should have been capable of much better than you produced after attending all those meetings for 4 months that you whined about. Peter you need to be forced to resign. You are offensive and need to be reigned in. Gail, go home. You and Frank and so many others there are a menace at worst or useless at best. Bob, stop looking at the details that don't matter and stop talking just to hear yourself opine; you have intelligence, so use it. John, wake up. Good for you for the couple of weak little "no" votes, but really, is this the best you can do? Another sorry episode of the Theatre of the Absurd.
https://vimeo.com/171033777 Watch the public comment.
After the disgusting display of cowardice I witnessed last night from the B of A, it's hard to be positive. Mr. Mroz hit the nail right on the head when he pointed out that this city uses every single valid excuse, and quite a few not so valid, to suck every last dime out of it's citizens to avoid complying with the dictates of Prop 2 1/2. So they went from a three-tier to a two-tier system. Whoopie. The effect of that on ratepayers is statistically insignificant. In what alternate universe can anyone think it's fair that a retiree living in a condo who uses less water than the average single family house has to pay a rate 87% higher? Senior discount? Income of $15,000.00 disqualifies you. Retroactive billing? Still going on. Everything that happened was just more sleight of hand bull$hit.
We know why some of them act the way they do. They are afraid to antagonize Dolan for fear he will take their GIC coverage away. But what about the others? I'm really disappointed in Monica - if you really believe the things you say, Monica, why did you not vote no?
They spent hours and hours supposedly working on this, and all we ended up with was a shell game. I knew it was bad, but now I am just totally and thoroughly disgusted. Government is supposed to attend to the interests of 100% of it's citizens, not subsidize 80% of them on the backs of the other 20%.
Mr. Taymor and Mr. Mroz were visibly angry, and you know what? They should be. As of last night, I am too.
Patrick Dello Russo Leaves Plymouth with 1.6 Million Dollar Sewer Deficit
In 2003 Patrick resigned from Plymouth to be the CFO in Melrose. But it seems he neglected to tell Plymouth Town officials that the Enterprise Account was short 1.6 million before he left.
And this thug as the audacity to question Ms. Mederios! His behavior at the last Aldermen meeting should be sanctioned by the board. He should be FORCED to give Ms. Mederios a public apology!
Any way....here's the Globe Article that I actually provided copies to for all the alderman when I attended a water and sewer rate hearing a few years back. Tramontozzi shut me down and refused to allow me to bring up Dello Russo's history in Plymouth. Enjoy! Last 3 paragraphs say it all....
OFFICIALS ASK WHY SEWERS FACE A DEFICIT $1.6M SHORTFALL SURPRISES THEM, POSES INCREASES
The Boston Globe (Boston, MA)
July 22, 2004 | Robert Knox, Globe Correspondent
An unanticipated $1.6 million shortfall in the sewer budget is expected to increase taxes, ratepayer's bills, and sewer connection fees for new sewer system users.
George Crombie, the town's Department of Public Works director, told the Board of Selectmen last week that the town faces an annual $1.6 million shortfall in the sewer enterprise fund, with no plan in place to plug the gap.
He proposed doubling taxpayers' contribution to the fund to nearly $1 million, increasing sewer users' fees by 2.5 percent, and raising one-time sewer connection fees from $10 to $16 per estimated gallon of flow per day.
Several selectmen said they supported Crombie's plan, but asked why the town was facing a deficit so soon after the current year's budget was approved. The fiscal year began July 1, and the town's $126.4 million annual budget was passed by Town Meeting in April.
"We're in the budget right now that has the shortfall," Selectman Anthony Schena said. "The public has a right to know why are we in this situation in the first place?"
Added Selectman Richard Quintal, "Why are we finding out now that we're broke?"
With both the town's chief finance officer and its Department of Public Works director leaving their positions in the last year, the question was not answered last week.
A new finance director, Bruce Miller, is scheduled to begin work this week. Crombie, who took over his post in January, told selectmen he could find no policy to pay for the shortfall in his department's records.
"It's my belief this [shortfall] was never expressed coherently to the selectmen," Crombie said last Friday.
Board members hope that better answers to their question will come when the board discusses the issue again at their meeting on Monday. Selectmen put off acting on Crombie's recommendations last week, asking town officials to bring them more information on the issue of funding the town's $49 million sewer treatment plant, which opened two years ago.
Sewer division expenses for this year are $4.968 million. Crombie said that in addition to covering operation and maintenance, personnel and debt-service bills, the plant's expenses include a $300,000 capital budget for such costs as increasing sewer flow from 2.5 million to 3 million gallons.
By town policy, the sewer enterprise fund is intended to cover the full costs of providing the serv ice to the system's 3,000 customers.
However, that policy also includes funding 10 percent of the system's cost from the town's general fund, based on an estimate of the percentage of the system used by town facilities such as schools and Town Hall. The town's 10 percent contribution, $496,858 this year, would double if the Board of Selectmen accepts Crombie's plan.
Selectmen chairman Ken Tavares said critics of the policy of funding the treatment plant solely through user fees had predicted a funding crunch. The plant was built not only to serve those customers, Tavares said, but also to promote economic development for the town. Development of the downtown and waterfront areas had been blocked for years because the town had no waste-water treatment capacity to offer them until a new treatment plant was built. New businesses were faced with building their own expensive septic systems or taking their operations to another town.
While board members agreed the new treatment plant benefited the whole town, Schena asked, "What about the 50,000 people who pay for it and don't get the service?" He estimated that the increased taxpayer contribution would add $20 to property tax bills.
Crombie's proposal would cushion the blow to the system's current customers. A 2.5 percent hike in their rates would add $15 a year to the typical bill, with the average family paying $595.60 a year. The rates have not been raised for two years, though they have risen steadily since 1998 as officials anticipated paying for the new sewer treatment plant.
Raising the connection fees from $10 to $16 per estimated gallon per day usage would hike the cost for hooking up a three-bedroom house from $4,500 to $6,480 a nearly $2,000 increase. A restaurant with 50 seats would pay $29,200 instead of $18,700.
Selectmen asked officials to study how much of the system's current flow is actually used by town facilities before they voted on increasing the town's contribution. Quintal said he did not want to vote on Crombie's recommendations until questions about why the system had a shortfall this year were answered.
Town Accountant John Madden, who acted as temporary finance director after Patrick Dello Russo resigned the position, told selectmen that plugging the shortfall might require action at the October Town Meeting and have an impact on the October bills to rate payers. Madden said Friday that he was working to answer selectmen's questions on why the shortfall had not been spotted earlier.
"I have to pull something together on that subject for the selectmen," he said.
Schena, who was chairman of the town's Finance and Advisory Committee before being elected selectman in May, said he did not know why the shortfall in the sewer fund had not been presented to town officials during the budget hearings this spring. But he said he supported increasing the taxpayers' contribution to fix it.
"We made an investment as a community in the plant to foster economic growth," he said. Robert Knox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PDR had other serious problems publicly known in Plymouth (and Melrose) too.
He doesn't want to be questioned, are you still bringing this story up 12 years later? It is from 2004. It is now 2016. You have posted this story on this website literally dozens of times over the years and every great it gets further in the past and becomes more irrelevant. Trust us, we have already read this from all the other times you have brought this up and your continued posting of it reflects more on your vendetta against the administration then anything else.
It's all resurfacing now that the latest batch of water/sewer bills have been circulating. The bury-your-head-in-the-sand citizens are getting agitated on the Facebook Community Page, not even realizing that a small sector of brave, knowledgeable citizens has been fighting this battle for some time, with zero support from all these newly outraged folks. This issue alone should have forced the removal of some city officials, based on their disgusting and corrupt conduct. Go back and read the meeting materials, and watch the videos. It's all there. You guys let this happen, so you share the blame. Get with the program and fix it. No way any of this is legitimate or justifiable.[:|]
So you make no mention of Melrose's I and I, wiich is the worst in the MWRA, the tiered billing system, retroactive billing, etc. Corect me if I'm wrong, but aren't the Melrose water bills the highest in the MWRA?
A $900 bill? Sure - has to be an error, granted. But there is no question that some residents are getting shafted, especially those that live in multi-unit dwellings with one master meter. The fact it's being discussed at all is a departure from prior years, when it was never mentioned by anybody. It's only since some of the inequities and the truth about the billing practices began to see the light of day that talk of it began. Maybe it's not a massive outcry, but it's an outcry nonetheless.
I did read his post, and he's correct about everything he said, which did not include saying we had the highest rates. I don't know if we do or not. I said we have the highest bills, which is not the same thing at all. According to Mr. Schenna (sp) we do have the highest inflow and infiltration, which is a huge reason why the bills are unusually high. As far as the tiers go, which may or may not be required by law - I've heard both - I could live with a fair tier system, but charging an elderly retiree the top tier rate simply because they live in a multi unit building with one meter is just plain wrong, and all I've heard from the DPW and the Aldermen so far is how they don't really know what they can do about it because it would be too complicated to bill, which is a pretty poor excuse, if you ask me. They could average. While not perfect, that would certainly be fairer than the way it's done now. Will it cost me more that way? It will, since I live in a single family, but fair is fair, and fairness is all anyone is really looking for I think.
As for property taxes, if our bills are somewhat lower as you contend, it would have as much to do with values as it does with rates. Obviously our bills would be lower than Winchester or Belmont, even if our rate was higher because of the difference in valuation. Winchester:Melrose::apples:oranges. Seems to me that water/sewer rates should be more consistent throughout the MWRA, everything else being equal, which is why I & I is such an issue, and most people don't even know what it is. I know I didn't until I saw it explained at one of the meetings.
Idiots abound in Melrose. This issue is a bonafide fiasco, and the BOA has totally screwed it up. They did not correct the illegal and flawed tiered system, nor did they correct the illegal retroactive billing, despite the number of attorneys on that board. It's truly shameful. Watch the meetings in June (and before) and see for yourself. Phil Taymore and Gerry Mroz laid it out beautifully, with plenty of documentation to support their claims (go into the IQM2 and you can find it all). The so-called "experts" were anything but. They were paid as consultants to produce the result that Dellarusso Scenna and Dolan told them to produce. It had no integrity and the findings were unsupportable. Monica, JD LaRock, and many others have risen up to state the problems articulately, also, and their thanks from the community was zero support. You don't like your water bill? Well you might have shown up for one of the meetings like we did. You might have shown up the night DellaR called Monica "ignorant" to protest this unacceptable conduct on his part. You might have shown up to vote for Dr. LaRock when he offered to stand up for all of us and help Monica & Don fix this water/sewer rate mess. You might have said thanks to Mr. Mroz or Mr. Taymor for standing up for what's right and doing such an incredible amount of legwork to present detailed, factual documentation. Instead the blowhards get on here with their unfactual silliness, doing the Melrose "self-congratulatory" thing. Get with it if you actually care enough to understand how wrongfully this situation is being "managed," and start learning what the real facts are. Don't just pull it out of your nether regions, like the officials did. If you're just here to protect the officials, you're plainly obvious, and you're not convincing anyone.
Don't forget the $500,000 of water and sewer the city, schools and parks use. They bill the water users for that instead of taking it from tax revenue.
A tax by any other name is a tax.
These water bills have gone up enough already. Time the mayor and aldermen fix it.
My sister lives in Wakefield, has an above ground pool, waters her lawn almost every day, and has four kids, meaning a lot of loads of laundry. Her last water bill was $177.00. I don't know what else needs to be said - Melrose is getting totally screwed.
[/quote] There are homeowners in Melrose that have only paid 50.00 -100.00 per quarter for YEARS! There must be a problem with meters. Why is this not picked up at City Hall. I pay quadruple that and live in same neighborhood. Why don't they scan residents bills and check to see outrageous bills and bills that are extremely below average. Do the residents all have new meters now?[/quote]
You didn't get one of the "special" water meters installed when you gave to his campaign? [:)s]
Hope you voted NO on the Override