Legislature Passes Barnstable County Septic Loan Program Bill

Senate bill 2247, sent to Romney for signature

State House, Boston - Senate 2247, a bill to make a technical correction to the Barnstable Community Septic Loan program was enacted by the state legislature today and sent to Governor Romney for his signature. The bill had the bi-partisan support of Senator Robert A. Oâ??Leary (D, Barnstable,) Representative Shirley Gomes (R, Harwich) and Representative Cleon H. Turner (D, Dennis). Rather than requiring a vote of town meeting, this bill authorizes the local board of selectmen or town council to vote in favor of adopting the program.

The Barnstable County Septic Loan Program was signed into law by the Governor on October 22, 2004. It allows individual homeowners to take out a loan, repayable over 20 years, to assist them in upgrading their septic systems. The program, which is run by the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, has proven beneficial for many towns throughout the County. It relieves the town of the administrative burden of running the program.

The legislation makes a minor management change, via Chapter 381 of the Acts of 2004.

â??given the sensitivity of the Capeâ??s groundwater, we have to be creative in our solutions. Making it easier for residents to replace their septic systems directly affects the groundwater.â?

The enacted bill allows the municipal council or Board of Selectmen within the respective town to allow the Barnstable County Commission to assume all powers to operate the Community Septic Management Program.

The lead sponsor of the bill, Sen. Oâ??Leary said "Currently there are eight towns that do not have funds to upgrade their septic systems and are unable to provide the loans through this vital program. With the passage of this legislation today, we have made the burden of upgrading these systems more affordable to residents by administering the Barnstable Septic Loan program at a regional level."

Rep. Turner, who worked with committee chairs to ensure speedy passage of the bill said Tuesday, â??given the sensitivity of the Capeâ??s groundwater, we have to be creative in our solutions. Making it easier for residents to replace their septic systems directly affects the groundwater.â?

Rep. Gomes said, â??this legislation will have an effect Cape-wide, and I was pleased to be able to work with my colleagues to see it passedâ?.

From the office of State Representative Cleon Turner, 617-722-2090 or [email protected].

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