North Kingstown voters asked to spend money on sewers

North Kingstown voters went to the polls Tuesday to vote on two questions dealing with sewers.

Bonds totaling more than $11 million would authorize spending for two major sewer expansions in town.

One question would authorize about $5 million in bonds to finance sewers in the village of Wickford.

Katie King, the manager of Beach Rose Cafe on Brown Street, said sewers would make a big difference at the restaurant, which uses paper plates and plastic ware to limit water use.

"We could serve food on real plates and with real silverware. We could serve dinner meals, and bring more people in, all around," said King.

The other question on the ballot Tuesday would authorize more than $6.5 million for sewers along Post Road north, where the head of the local chamber of commerce said they've lost out on potential businesses coming in.

"And because it's on septic, it very much limits their ability to do their business. So, they've walked away from those opportunities," said Martha Pughe, of the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce.

Paige Bronk, the town's economic development director, said a recent market analysis shows there is demand.

"Most of the money is going elsewhere for shopping, restaurants and the like. What we'd like to do is keep that money here," Bronk said.

But is the town worried about too much development?

"We're very much interested in making sure not only the right type of development occurs, but the look of it, the functionality, to make sure it doesn't impact our local community," Bronk said.

The cost of the projects would not fall on residential taxpayers or businesses not tying into the sewers, but on those property owners who will be serviced by the new sewer system.

Several business owners said sewers would be good for the town overall, but there was also concern about hookup fees and the cost.

One business owner said she's already been told by the landlord that her rent will go up as a result, significantly.