Mashpee Town Meeting

Mashpee Town Meeting

Mashpee Town Meeting voters approved a $2.48 million debt exclusion for the design of a wastewater treatment plant, a $60 million operating budget and the purchase of a bog near Santuit Pond on Monday, June 15.

The 265 voters in attendance turned out clad in masks to fill the Mashpee High School gymnasium, some overflowing into the cafeteria. All were seated six feet apart for the more than two hour meeting.

The design of the wastewater treatment plant, proposed for adjacent the transfer station, garnered much discussion before receiving the required two-thirds vote, 175 to 75. The debt exclusion still requires a majority vote at the ballot box on Tuesday, June 23.

“We’ve known that our bays and estuaries [have] declining water quality, we know the cause” said the chairman of the selectmen, Andrew R. Gottlieb, before the vote on the treatment plant. “We’re never going to fix our problem until and unless we begin to build the necessary treatment facility and the sewers.”

Those opposed to the treatment plant, many from the adjacent Asher’s Path community, raised concerns about the cost, the impact on property values, the plant’s proximity to a capped landfill and potential scents from the plant.

The Town Meeting approval of the design of the treatment plant marks the largest step toward implementing the town’s nitrogen management plan to date. The final draft of the plan, which aims to reduce nitrogen outputs and restore the water quality of the town’s waterways, was completed in 2015.

A unanimous vote passed a pair of articles meant to help fund the expensive sewering and wastewater projects to come. The articles created a wastewater infrastructure investment fund with a two percent real estate surcharge.