Do you favor a $3.4 million bond to support drinking water programs, to support the construction of wastewater treatment facilities, and to leverage $17 million in other funds?
Compared to such government expenditures as the $700 billion federal bank bailout, the $3.4 million the state wants to borrow for water and wastewater treatment plants seems like pocket change. But nothing short of public health, along with economic development and easing the property tax burden, are at stake with the bond. It should be approved.
The money borrowed through the Maine bond bank likely will be at a low interest rate, and will replenish two revolving loan funds that towns and cities use when water supply and delivery systems and wastewater treatment plants need upgrades. The $3.4 million will be divided evenly between the two revolving loan funds for water and wastewater treatment.
Ed Barrett, Bangor’s city manager, said such loan funds are critical to municipalities. Bangor has spent as much as $50 million over the last 10 years upgrading its wastewater treatment facilities to stem stormwater overflow. The loan fund is key in making such work possible. The upgrades enable Bangor to meet regulatory standards, and the work also keeps rates down for users, the city manager said.
Though the harsh economic climate is not favorable for asking voters to support borrowing money, approval of the bond will ultimately make Maine a more business-friendly place, as it enables municipalities to keep up with essential infrastructure for healthy drinking water and clean rivers and harbors.