“Ooh that smell, can’t you smell that smell.” -Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lane/Tommy: We have asked many questions about the sewer pipe extension from Westbrook to South Windham and we would like to report that all questions have been answered, but they haven’t.

Our most important unanswered question addresses how the project will be paid for. Perhaps even a better question is how deep are the Windham taxpayer’s pockets? Since there now appears to be significant cost overruns with this sewer project, it is time for the leadership of Windham to tell exactly who negotiated the deal with the developer of Keddy Mill and the Portland Water District.

We have asked this question for months and haven’t received a reply yet! Why do we ask this question constantly? It’s because we truly believe that the person(s) who negotiated this sewer deal be fired from employment by the town of Windham. As our deadline for this column is before Tuesday night, it will be important for readers to note that the water district should have had a meeting with the Windham Town Council on Tuesday night, weather permitting. However, that meeting was to be about whether or not Windham should pay for the possible cost overruns of this project and would not have addressed our questions about the sewer extension.

Tommy: Lane and I both believe in reasonable development at the least possible cost to the taxpayers. Since we don’t have a clue from our town’s leadership as to how Windham will pay for the $2 million-plus debt to the PWD, maybe another question I should ask is how long was the project discussed without the public’s knowledge?

Although at least one council member stated this project had been in the works for a long time, it appears to me that the final vote by the council was a pushed affair with the excuse that things might change if the council did not immediately approve a contract.

Lane/Tommy: Who is going to be the biggest user of this sewer project? According to the water district, Gorham assumes 50 percent of the burden, Windham assumes 25 percent and the Maine Correctional Center assumes around 5 percent. Portland Water District assumes the rest of the debt but we all know that is collected from sewer users or taxpayers. We do not know how many users of this sewer extension come from Gorham but we do know that there are several hundred prisoners in the correctional facility. Why isn’t the state paying more? Windham has only a minimum of users connected to the present system so why is Windham paying so much?

Lane: I have a real serious problem with Windham’s elected representative to the water district. Louise Douglas stated in an interview with another newspaper that she was conscious of the cost overrun but did not feel it was her role to be the messenger. That is not what I want to hear from an elected official. Can you imagine what we would think if the President of the United States said something similar? It is the responsibility of elected officials to keep us informed.

Tommy: Gorham knew about the costs of this project exceeding the projected budget. What are we to believe about the leadership of Windham? Are they paying attention or are they asleep at the wheel with our tax dollars?

Lane/Tommy: Is it true that the developer of Keddy Mill and the town of Windham share the same law firm? Windham’s town charter clearly states that any appropriation of $25,000 or more must be adopted at a town meeting, and we fully agree. Since the previous town council approved a burden of more than $2 million upon either the users of the sewer system in South Windham and/or the taxpayers of Windham, wouldn’t you agree that those councilors open up their checkbooks and pony up that $2 million?

Lane and Tommy of Windham fully believe if the past council members have to pay for the debt incurred upon the residents of Windham for the extension of the sewer pipe from Westbrook that future councilors will think twice about placing a debt upon the citizens of Windham. The shame is that the stench from South Windham does not come from Keddy Mill, it comes from Town Hall.

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