ROCKPORT — Last week, the four members of the Camden Select Board approved a motion to file in court a demand that Rockport reimburse Camden for back payments relating to sewer charges. As well, the board voted that Rockport must produce within 90 days a plan that outlines how Rockport will withdraw its dependence on the Camden sewer system.
Rockport responded later in the week with a statement directed at the Town of Camden, saying: “Rockport wants to have an open dialog to set the record straight, however, it is hard to have these long-term planning conversations when the dialog begins with ‘take it or leave it,’ let alone retain a desire to work with a municipality actively working against the well- being of their neighbor.”
In addition to approving a letter be sent to Rockport demanding $143,323 to cover delinquent payments, or face a claim of unjust enrichment filed at the Knox County Court House, the Camden Select Board also decided that it no longer wants Rockport’s wastewater.
In a March 22 letter to Camden Town Manager Audra Caler, Rockport Town Manager Jon Duke said that after watching the recording of the Camden Select Board’s March 21 meeting, his town requested a meeting of the sewer system’s Administering Committee.
That committee was formed in 1990, following the creation of an Interlocal Agreement, when Rockport first built its sewer lines to feed Rockport Village sewage into Camden’s existing sewer system.
Duke asked that the Administering Committee’s meeting agenda to include an independent rate study jointly funded by the Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection, and the two towns.
He said Rockport has requested meetings six times over the past year.
“...One would hope we can dispense with hyperbole and provide clear lines of communication to avoid an environmental and public health crisis,” he wrote.
As of March 28, he said no response has been forthcoming from Camden.
“We have yet to receive communications from the Town of Camden in any form,” Duke said. “I hope Camden will agree to set a meeting for the Administering Committee so that we can discuss this matter as soon as possible.”
Additionally, and in response to the Camden Select Board’s action taken March 21 to inform economic development agencies that any funding Rockport pursued in relation to its own sewer system expansion would represent projects that had no guaranteed future reliance on Camden’s sewer system, Duke said March 28:
“We have informed agencies from whom we are pursuing grant funding and entities who assist the Town in garnering such funds of the circumstance with the Town of Camden. However, it is impossible for such funding to allow Rockport to find a reasonable alternative within the timetable the Camden Select Board discussed at their meeting on March 21. Solutions such as those will be years in the making.”
Rockport has initiated plans to extend its sewer along Route 90 to the intersection of Route 17, in West Rockport.
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