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Residents voice sewer concerns at contentious Coventry meeting

Mandatory sewer work has already started in Coventry, but the overall project is on hold after public outrage and a council vote Monday, Oct. 16, 2016. (WJAR)

Mandatory sewer work has already started in Coventry, but the overall project is on hold after public outrage and a council vote Monday night.

While Council President Glen Shibley said sewers can be put in without a public vote, a town vote may end up being the result of the halt and re-assessment.

“Now you are forcing me to pay this money for something I do not want,” one resident said at the meeting.

Others agreed.

“This is mandated on us. This is America. This is not Russia,” another said.

There is plenty of anger -- and lots of unanswered questions -- over a mandated plan that would force residents in parts of town to pay tens of thousands of dollars to hook up to new sewer lines -- some of which are under construction.

Most claim their current septic systems are fine.

“For this not to be our decision as members of the community, is really unfair and it's an atrocity,” another said.

More residents shared similar sentiments.

“You want to put them into debt when they cannot recover. You want many of them too seriously their homes.”

The town council ended up voting to temporarily stop the work to get more data, public input, and re-assess the plan.

But Shibley maintains sewers are needed to replace septic systems.

“The ordinance has been on the books for quite some time and sewers cost money,” Shibley said. “Sewers are a good thing. Nobody wants to pay. It's $1,000 a year maybe for the 20 years. That's reasonable.”

Yet, residents claim it's going to cost them a lot more.

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