Published DateSANBORNTON — One of the more controversial topics at Wednesday night's annual Town Meeting was a warrant article that would have provided $7,946 in local taxpayer money to match a state grant for two storm water catchment basins in the Winnisquam watershed. The measure went down to an overwhelming defeat.
The financial grant match would have required a $5,460 in "in kind contributions" from Sanbornton to get a total of $38,886 for the Best Management Practices in the 3,600 acre Black Brook watershed.
Speaking for it was Don Foudriat who spearheaded the study after the completion of the Maple Circle-Black Brook Road-Town Beach project in 2011. He explained that phosphorous contributes to invasive species growth and the decline of the overall health of the lake.
The study recommended 31 "BMPs" for a total of $900,000 but selectmen chose the two least expensive ones, said Selectman Guy Giunta, to see if they could spark interest in the other communities whose water also runs into Lake Winnisquam. He said other communities on the lake don't appear to be doing anything to mitigate the storm water runoff and have declined selectmen requests for meetings.
Speaking against it were a lot of people, including Budget Committee member Jeff Jenkins and Curt McGee who both said the intent of the BMPs was noble and lake quality was key, but there were too many strings attached to the state grant and once the state gets involved they will dictate the terms of maintenance.
When asked, no one could say how much maintenance could cost. Jenkins and Selectboard Chair Dave Nickerson both said they had information that the town would be required to clean the basins twice annually, or after each inch of rain and the residue would be considered hazardous waste.
"They'll take it to Concord, burn it, and send it back to use so we can spread it on our lawns," he said evoking laughter from the crowd.
Scott Taylor of Kaulback Road, who defined himself as a tree-hugger, said it was a rare occasion that he agreed with Jeff Jenkins and Curt McGee, who also spoke against it, but said that he was against spending the money because there isn't enough information.
The two basins would have been a small part in the overall Black Brook Watershed Management Plan that was recommended by in August by the N.H. Department of Environmental Services as a way to ultimately reduce the amount of phosphorous and contaminants that reach Lake Winnisquam via the river.
The final results of the study — that can be found in its entirely on the Sanbornton — recommends $998,000 of BMPs in the 3,600-acre Black Brook watershed.