To all New Hartford’s Townspeople,
We are writing to urge you to vote “NO” on March 6, 2021 to the referendum question regarding the sale of New Hartford’s water resources and wastewater facilities. Here are five reasons to vote “NO”.
1. Selling New Hartford’s water and wastewater facilities to Aquarion, a subsidiary of Eversource, would strip local control and accountability away from the local public, and place it in the hands of a distant, private, for-profit conglomerate. Aquarion’s main priority will be profitability, not protecting New Hartford’s public health, caring for the environment, or the well-being of residents. During the past 10 years Aquarion has been cited for at least eight health-based violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
2. In the virtual meetings of the past six months, Aquarion’s representatives have been reticent to fully address and answer the public’s questions and concerns. They’ve been evasive at best. Aquarion has admitted that operating wastewater systems isn’t their specialty.
3. There are alternatives to selling New Hartford’s water resources and wastewater facilities to a private, for-profit corporation, however those alternatives have not been allowed to be presented at the virtual meetings. Thus far, residents have been denied a balanced and complete hearing of other potential alternatives.
4. The proposed sale does not fix the core problem of excessive rates for the water and sewer system users, nor does it address the incompatible relationship between capacity and user base. Aquarion has admitted that raising rates is the essence of their business model. There are many instances of towns in Connecticut and in other states where town residents thought it was a good idea to sell their public utilities and after, came to regret their decision. Regaining public ownership of the water company is expensive, difficult, time-consuming, and may not guarantee the reversal of the decision.
Priscilla and Bob Marshall