Orono plans Feb. 12 meeting with Orono-Veazie Water District to give residents a chance to ask questions
ORONO, Maine — There are some upset people in town and neighboring Veazie who are concerned about their water quality and feel their voices have not been heard.
Seventeen residents, one a parent who brought her two children, attended the town’s finance-community development-operations committee meeting last week after learning that Orono-Veazie Water District trustees and Water District Superintendent Dennis Cross were on the agenda to give an update.
The group listened quietly as Cross, councilors and Town Manager Sophie Wilson discussed the three major water issues — recent discoloration, trihalomethanes levels, and future water projects — but became slightly upset when they asked to make comments and were told the meeting was not the appropriate place.
A couple in the audience stood with raised voices and said they were also denied an opportunity to speak when they attended the last water district meeting. They were concerned about testing locations, water flushing and trihalomethanes contamination levels.
“The public that were there were told it was not a public meeting, and they were not allowed to speak,” one woman said. “I’m concerned that … we won’t be allowed to speak.”
Several members of the Orono council said they are hearing from constituents about concerns with the water department and asked if water district trustees could add items to their website to keep residents informed about any updates.
They also asked for a public meeting, specially to talk about the issues with trustees, which was tentatively scheduled for Feb. 12, the day after the next water district trustees meeting.
“These people want a dialogue,” Councilor Geoffrey Gordon said, shortly after making a motion to schedule and invite the trustees to the special meeting.
“We do want to have a dialogue and we do want to have it soon,” Cross said to end that portion of the Orono meeting.
Where the meeting will be held is still under discussion because the council chambers will be occupied that evening, the town manager said.