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Bristol Special Town Meeting this Saturday

Voters to consider Sewer to the Lake Project

August 25, 2010
BRISTOL—It may be Old Home Day in Bristol this upcoming Saturday, Aug. 28, but it won't all be fun and games.

In the midst of the day-long festivities in celebration of community life, there will be a critically important Special Town Meeting to be held at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of Newfound Regional High School.

Residents will be asked to cast their vote in support of the Sewer to the Lake expansion proposal so that Bristol town officials can secure federal grant funding for the infrastructure improvement project.

All interested taxpayers are invited to attend, but only registered Bristol voters will be able to cast their paper ballots. A two-thirds majority of those registered voters present at the meeting will be required for the Sewer to the Lake warrant article to pass. The polls will remain open for one hour.

Members of the town's Sewer to the Lake Committee and project engineers will be on hand to answer questions about the project, designed to increase existing capacity, extend the sewer line to the southern tip of Newfound Lake and around the eastern and western shoreline.

The purpose of the sewer extension project is to protect drinking water supplies and the water quality of Newfound Lake. The health of the lake and water supplies are considered to be vitally important to health and well-being of Bristol residents and summer visitors, as well as essential to economic development in the region.

These water resources are threatened by the presence of many aging and inadequate septic systems on numerous, tiny shoreline lots crowding the southern end of Newfound Lake.

The town of Bristol hopes to be able to secure American Recovery and Re-investment Act funds for a large portion of the project, but opportunities to take advantage of these funds will run out at the end of September, and a positive Town Meeting vote on the proposal is needed to move forward.

Town officials re-iterate that even if the article passes, they will not proceed with the project unless 75 percent of the total cost is covered by federal funds. They have publicly stated on numerous occasions that Bristol cannot afford to pay for this project on its own. The remaining 25 percent of the project costs will be bonded, to be paid out of fees on the new users as they connect to the sewer system.

There is to be no impact on Bristol taxes.

The warrant article under consideration at the Special own Meeting will ask voters to raise and appropriate the sum of $28 million, and authorizes the selectmen to apply for, obtain and accept grants of funding under the American Recovery and Re-investment Act of 2009 for the project.

The wording specifically states that the article is contingent upon the receipt of American Recovery and Re-investment Act 2009 funds.

While not discussing serious and important issues impacting the future of the town, residents and visitors alike will be enjoying the day-long series of Old Home Day events, kicking off with the 5K race at Kelley Park, a softball and horseshoe tournament, and at 10 a.m., the Bristol Lions Club Antique Car Parade.

A crafts fair, pony rides and food will be available all day.

Don't miss the Minot-Sleeper Library duck race at 3 p.m., musical entertainment by the Uncle Steve Band from 4 until 7 p.m., and, last but not least, the annual Tapply Thompson Community Center lobster/chicken dinner.

As momentous occasions go, there probably won't be as big a day in Bristol again for a long, long time.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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