Carter has stated in his letter to me (attached) and also in his weekly report, that he is trying to get control over the Sewer Department budget. I have copied my response here. I noticed in the mass email that he sends out which contains his weekly report, that the Advisory Committee was not copied. As the preeminent financial advisory of Town finances, I thought you and your committee members should be aware of what he is up to.
As most of you know I usually choose to stay out of the fray, but Carter keeps repeatedly forcing my hand. He continually misrepresents the intent of Mass General Law(MGL) and Town Bylaws using selective quotations to suit his purpose/agenda (see attached). For the record, my opinion is, and I have operated the Sewer Department under the following understanding which I believe follows ALL State and local laws and regulations:
The Sewer Department is NOT separate from the Town.
The Sewer Department IS different from other "general fund" departments in 2 key ways:
The first way is that Town meeting voted to accept MGL Chapter 44, Section 53 F1/2, forming an enterprise fund which specifies a different method of accounting. This is done so sewer users, voters and anyone else can see easily what it costs to operate the sewer system.
The second way is that voters also chose to elect Sewer Commissioners and the State Law voted says;
"If sewer commissioners be chosen, they shall, as to sewers and drains, exclusively have the powers, perform the duties and be subject to the liabilities and penalties of selectmen and road commissioners".
Please note the word "exclusively" in the law above. I have told Carter about this State law many times and he won't hear it or acknowledge it.
So my interpretation of the above statute is that the Selectmen develop and control the budget of the departments under their control, and the Sewer Commission develops and controls the budget of the Sewer Department.
All budgets then go before the ultimate approving authority, the voters at Town meeting.
Carter wants to have control over the development of the sewer budget. That is my job as directed by the Board of Sewer Commission. Carter or the Selectmen or anyone else is welcomed and encouraged to attend any of the upcoming monthly Sewer Commission meetings where we will be discussing the budget. Those meetings and Town meeting are proper venues for public input. Also, anyone who has questions or concerns can call me directly at 978-939-2743. Remember that I work under the direction of the Board of Sewer Commission, but ultimately I work for YOU, if you are a registered voter in Templeton. The voters (whether your home has sewer or not) chose the sewer enterprise and chose to have an elected Board of Sewer Commissioners. It is your sewer system and we all work for you!
Carter wants more control over the Sewer Department budget and it causes me great concern when I wonder why?