New Milford Sewer Commission debt deal made, supervisor quits
Updated 4:22 pm, Wednesday, September 21, 2016
NEW MILFORD — Although a deal was made this week to address the Sewer Commission’s $4.3 million debt to the town, the commission has another problem — finding a succesor to sewer supervisor Robert Pudelka, who resigned Friday.
Pudelka’s job was to oversee day-to-day operations of the Water Pollution Control Authority, town officials said, adding that his resignation had nothing to do with the long-running debt dispute between the commission and Mayor David Gronbach.
“Nobody asked him to resign,” said Gronbach. “We were trying to work with Mr. Pudelka and the administration, and this came out of the blue.”
Pudelka, who had been supervisor for two years, declined to comment, but said he’s already looking for a new job.
“I have an interview tomorrow,” he said.
The deal reached Monday ends the contention over $4.3 million in debt payments, resulting from a $22 million sewer expansion project, that the town had paid on the commission’s behalf.
To offset part of the debt, the town will use $2.3 million in unspent money from two Route 7 sewer-line expansion projects. To cover the rest, the town and commission agreed to an accounting arrangement under which the town pays $99,000 a year for 20 years for sewer service and the sewer commission, in effect, returns that money directly to the town.
The vacancy in the supervisor’s position won’t affect operations, town officials said. The WPCA has employees that are certified to carry out the role in Pudelka’s absence.
Scott Chamberlain, a Democratic Town Council member who also serves on the Sewer Commission, said he didn’t know why Pudelka, 49, quit, but he could understand why someone in Pudelka’s position would.
“It hasn’t always been the easiest, or the least stressful, time to be on the sewer commission,” Chamberlain said. “Is it a total surprise? No, not really.”
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