The City is preparing to engage in another round of multi-million dollar borrowings to continue the work required under the federal government’s signed Consent Decree with Revere for historic violations of the Clean Water Act.
The Council has scheduled a Public Hearing this month to consider $7.55 million in borrowings from the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (known as SRF) at an interest rate of 2 percent. The borrowings come on top of numerous similar borrowings over the last two years.
City officials and consultants told the Journal that the borrowings – with the proposed ones included – have now reached $25 million in two years. Under the Consent Decree, brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice in 2009, the City still has nearly $75 million in borrowings remaining for projects required under that Consent Decree. Those borrowings and construction must take place within the next eight years.
Currently, there are about five projects ongoing in the City financed by previous borrowings. The Insituform Company is completing most of those projects.
The borrowings are and will be financed entirely by the water and sewer ratepayers in Revere.
That was a sore subject last week when Councillors set the new water and sewer rates for the new fiscal year – rates that increased by 8 percent for residential customers.
A good deal of that increase came due to the fact that payments are now coming due for previous SRF borrowings.
“We had three of those borrowings come due all at once this year,” said Director of Finance George Anzuoni. “There’s usually a year or two lag time before they hit the ratepayers and this new fiscal year is the first time ratepayers have been affected by the Consent Decree. That’s pretty much the reason rates went up so much.”
Mayor Dan Rizzo recently went on record saying that he plans to petition state and federal regulators to allow Revere to stretch out the Decree several more years.
Revere city councillors were none too happy with the increases, and weren’t too happy to see more borrowings coming down the pipe. However, they also realized that they had no power to do anything about it.
“I’m hoping that at least we can get some help from the federal government,” said Council President Richard Penta. “How can you expect people to pay for all of these old problems right now, in these tough times?”
The first of the new borrowings is a total of $800,000 and will pay for the next phase of televised investigations of the City’s stormwater and wastewater systems.
The second borrowing totals $6.75 million and will fund construction projects on the systems for Phase 3 of the overall project, along with additional work from Phase 1 and 2.