City dollars leaking out water pipes, by Gail Moorhouse

By  | November 16, 2010 | 4 Comments | Filed under: Keeping track of Cambridge Council 2010-2014

This ran in the Cambrige Times…………. comments invited below

There was an excellent presentation by Mike Hausser, director of asset management and support services at the City of Cambridge, during a council meeting on Nov. 8.

His presentation was rock solid on the current state of our infrastructure. The simplified story is about how long our infrastructure assets can last and the required maintenance along with the associated cost.

I equate our city story to having a beautiful home and landscape on the outside, but a broken furnace or leaky pipes on the inside. Final home inspection revealed…

There is a growing gap in infrastructure that has been brought on by the system aging faster than the maintenance or replacement. The result is a $54-million backlog in the water system and $17 million in our sewer system.

In addition to the backlog, we are paying out more than $6 million a year because of water seepage and issues with the sewer system. The water leak alone is equivalent to the water needed for 12,000 homes. With the current backlog, it will take up to 15 years to catch up.

This is not an issue that we can take on lightly. It is what we are leaving to our children. We are great on the outside, but falling apart on the inside.

As a parent, would you advise your children to buy a home with leaky pipes? We need to make the repair of our infrastructure a top priority and accelerate the backlog timeframe.

So what can we do? Through our vote on Oct. 25, we directed council to continue to do more of the same. That may not have been our intent, but through lack of voter turnout, that was the message.

There has been a ton of criticism about past spending and we cannot move forward with the same attitudes. However, we can move forward with the same elected people if we, the citizens, change our attitudes and get involved.

Now is the time for every taxpayer to speak up and claim their voice. The city is coming up to budget time and our councillors and mayor will make financial decisions on how our tax dollars will be spent in the coming year. They need to hear from you. So I am asking you to phone, write, text or email the people who represent you.

Ask for a public meeting to hear the details on our infrastructure, to hear the city financial priorities and then for an opportunity to provide input before the budget process starts.

My approach would be very lean or tight controls on spending over the next four years, and if it is not “mission critical”, then postpone. This is not the time for frivolous spending. We need every penny possible being spent on bringing our water and sewers back to acceptable levels. 

If we fixed our leaky pipes, we would have enough cash in three years to pay cash for Drayton Theatre.

We ran this March 2010, Riverside Park in Preston , this hydrant ran for 3 years.. Link to our story

Please link to Times article–city-dollars-leaking-out-water-pipes


4 Responses to City dollars leaking out water pipes, by Gail Moorhouse

  1. Debbie Duff Vitez November 16, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Great article Gail
    I have a funny feeling we’re gonna be hearing a lot from you.. If you can help get people involved in what goes on at Council, that’s a good thing.. Good for you!

    Thomas Vann November 16, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Thank-you Gail for showing up Mon. Nov. 8/10 at council. l’m sorry you didn’t get to hear me speak. Maybe next time. Your article was right on and l agree with it except the part of it taking 15 years to catch up. Mr. Price said it will all be fixed in 7 years during the Rogers debate if l remember correctly. ls there a chance this is so with new added taxes? Nice work Gail.

    Eric Andrade November 16, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    There is a growing gap in infrastructure that has been brought on by the system aging faster than the maintenance or replacement. The result is a $54-million backlog in the water system and $17 million in our sewer system.
    we have large problems in our city, and council decided to spend 38 million on a city hall ???????????????
    54+17= 71 million
    71-38= 33 million

    So instead of fixing our deteriorating infrastructure………………….. we built a city hall

    The new city hall benefits only a few
    but our water system benefits everybody

    but I guess your not in it for everybody, only to serve a select few

    How does a city in a 1st world nation, have these issues that are commonly found in a 3rd world countries????
    I Just don’t understand
    somebody PLEASE HELP US

  4. Debbie Duff Vitez November 17, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Someone is not going to help us.. Not anyone currently running our city hall or above in any Elected capacity.
    That was our first mistake, thinking they care!!

    WE HAVE TO HELP OURSELVES.. And we will.

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