This is the third in a series of articles based on statements from GOP First Selectman Tim Herbst and his Democratic Challenger, Martha Jankovic-Mark.
The Trumbull Water Pollution Control Authority, whose members are appointed by First Selectman Tim Herbst, has increased its spending, Herbst's challenger argued.
"Over the past three years, the Herbst WPCA has run over budget on the North Nichols sewer project, while the completion of that work has dragged on,” Mark said. “They passed $10 million of that cost on to all Trumbull taxpayers—even those who don’t use sewers. This is not responsible management.”
Herbst's reply began with accusing members of Ray Baldwin Jr.'s Democratic administration of "rubber-stamping" high cost items such as the north Nichols sewer project.
"Mrs. Mark and Trumbull Democrats borrowed $120 million in a five-year period when they supported a $73-million renovation of Trumbull High School and gave Mark IV Construction an open check book in Jog Hill and North Nichols," he said.Democrat-controlled boards and commissions raised taxes 54 percent in eight years, Herbst said.
"They even rammed through the North Nichols project six weeks before an election and allowed contracts to be executed that did not have termination provisions that would have provided the town a way out," according to Herbst. "As a result of their reckless judgment, the Town is now in civil litigation on Contract 3 (Jog Hill) and arbitration on Contract 4 (North Nichols). The high school project has been a huge disappointment, now more than a year over-schedule and we are now proceeding with an audit of this project."
The FBI was also probing the sewer project, which Herbst said had cost overruns and was not properly bid. The Jog Hill Road project has also led to a lawsuit from the WPCA.
Regarding the $10 million in non-sewer related costs, Herbst argued that all taxpayers should fund road paving because everyone uses the roads.
Meanwhile, Mark took issue with WPCA statements the 34 percent increase in sewer use fees was "inherited" that the fees would only increase over time.
Mark also called for a financial audit of the WPCA. "The WPCA has been talking about an audit of their books since 2010. Mr. Herbst has called for several audits, but he's stood by silently while his WPCA has procrastinated for three years on an audit of their own books. Enough is enough."