Watch List – BCRSD

Presentation1

BCRSD – Brown County Regional Sewer District

NEW – WATCH LIST.  July 16, 2021.  The Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) is on the first ever WATCH LIST.  The Board consists of Clint Studabaker, Richard Hall, Mike Leggins, Deborah Larsh, and Phil LeBlanc.

BCRSD – Cover memo and funding request for American Rescue r Plan (ARP).  County receiving about 1.4 million.  BCRSD is asking for $300,000.  The priority for the county is and has been Helmsburg, Trevlac, and Lake Lemon Areas.   The need (as opposed to want) for the Bean Blossom area has not been validated and lacks evidence of community wide support.

The BCRSD spent 220K of the 270K they received from the county on plans for a new plant in Bean Blossom. They determined this was the highest priority in the county. After 3 years, they have been able to acquire land.

Justification for placement on a Watch List

  • TOO MUCH POWER WITH NO COUNTY OVERSIGHT. A Regional Sewer District has the power to force everyone within 300 feet of a sewer line to pay the hook up fees and monthly utility charges for service. Charges could range from $65.00 a month. Any waivers for customers with functional septic systems are temporary and at the discretion of the RSD. The only power county elected officials have over this board is appointments and re-appointments. They can also choose NOT to provide any local funding. The BCRSD could still receive funding from other sources. Power always corrupts. Oversight and transparency are antidotes.
  • Lack of Transparency.  No frequent updates on their recently developed (2021) website to include agenda, minutes, reports, contact information for Board members, and recordings of their meetings. The promise of development of a website and support for communication and transparency were made at their “June 2018” meeting. This was the meeting where they announced submission of an application for funding for a new sewer plant in Bean Blossom.
  • Mismanagement and Lack of Oversight by County Officials. The BCRSD applied for funding for a new plant in Bean Blossom in June 2018. They spent over $220,000 of the 270K provided to them by the County Council. They have not acquired land and their attempt to acquire county parkland was rejected by DNR. They have not validated a need. Nashville has identified that they can provide service to Bean Blossom at less cost that building a new plant. And it is becoming more apparent to all that a regional plant in Helsmburg may be the best option for the area.  They have yet to publicly comments on the status of the Bean Blossom Sewer Plan other that to say “all options are being considered.”
    • An independent audit on the efficiency and effectiveness of the BCRSD should be initiated by county officials.
  • Overstatements.  In this week’s Democrat, Mr. Studabaker stated they had $30 million worth of projects. This is an overstatement. He was basing the “estimate” on findings from a regionalization study that identified rough estimates for a variety of projects IF a NEED could be validated. Further analysis is needed to determine the most feasible of options. Further, Studebaker claimed human causes e-coli contamination that could be due to failed septic systems.  He was referring to a water samples containing pharmaceutical waste – which per the Democrat, cannot be filtered by septic systems OR wastewater treatment systems.
  • Plans and Strategies.  The BCRSD initiatives that led to the acquisition of grants for the development of a Regionalization Study and Wastewater Strategic Plan are value added. These “Plans” and strategies can be maintained by the county planning office. The current planning director is retiring within a year and a new director with the required skills can provide the oversight on ALL projects  that involve county resources and infrastructure.
  • Dissolve the BCRSDThe Platform for the 2020 County Democrat candidates for office included the objective of dissolving the BCRSD. This should remain a consideration.
    • We believe there is no useful purpose served by the existence of the Brown County Regional Sewer District, and it should be dissolved. No proof supported by observation of empirical evidence shows good cause to force county homes and businesses off of septic systems already installed. The Hometown Engineering report determined that no new sanitary sewer system is economically feasible without wide-scale hookup.
  • False Premise.  The BCRSD was established based on a false premise of an “environmental nightmare” in the Bean Blossom area due to failed septic systems. This has never been validated. Current possible projects supporting Helmsburg and Lake Lemon can be administered by an expanded Helmsburg RSD with contracting support.

IF water sampling does indicate human caused contamination, next steps would be to confirm the scope and extent of the problem. 

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