August 31, 2016
If you’ve been thinking that the Mayor and Council have been focused on too many legacy projects and not enough basic infrastructure spending, then you’re point was driven home on Friday night when a rogue thunderstorm parked over the area and dumped over six inches of rain in some areas, causing numerous street closures and flooding throughout the urban core.
By now we’ve all seen the TV news footage of a Westport bar patron wading through thigh-high water to get to their vehicle. Flooding was common in a number of low lying areas already prone to flooding even when less than an inch of rain falls. All of this is the symptom of an EPA mandate – which dictates the city’s storm sewers be upgraded and repaired – that has been ignored by City Hall since its announcement in May of 2010. According to that mandate, the city has, through its deferment of sewer upgrades and repairs, allowed over 6.5 billion gallons of untreated sewage into local streams and rivers. You heard right folks, untreated sewage. We’ll just let that sink in for a minute.
Instead, the Mayor and Council chose to pursue fancy, legacy building projects such as the toy train streetcar and subsidizing downtown luxury lofts and hotels. It would certainly seem to this news-dog that after this round of high water, maybe, just maybe City Hall should pay a little more attention to the basic infrastructure needs of the city, rather than lining the pockets of connected developers, key construction companies and consultants.
But then again, basic infrastructure needs such as streetlights, sidewalks and storm sewers aren’t glamorous or shiny, and don’t roll on rails when the weather is good. Basic infrastructure is what provides a higher quality of life for residents and visitors alike, but it is largely ignored. While this dog is no fan of the EPA given their over-reach and intrusion into private enterprise, the dog thinks it’s time to put some much-needed effort and cash toward fixing the sewer issues in this cow-town. We’re not real fond of sharing the street with someone else’s raw sewage.