LEICESTER, Mass. — Property owners within the Cedar Meadow Lake Watershed District in Leicester can make betterment payments over a longer time frame than currently required under legislation signed last week by Gov. Deval Patrick.
Cedar Meadow Lake is a 144-acre body of water off Rawson Street in Leicester, and 85 families make their homes inside the watershed district. In May 1997, the Proprietors of the Cedar Meadow Lake Watershed District voted to take the Cedar Meadow Lake dam and the land under Cedar Meadow Lake by eminent domain.
State Rep. John J. Binienda (D-Worcester) and state Sen. Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) filed the bill, called An Act Relative to the Cedar Meadow Lake Water District. Last week's signing was welcomed by property owners affected by a court decision requiring $1.7 million in compensation for the dam and other property obtained through eminent domain, said Dick Johnston, district clerk for the Cedar Meadow Lake Water District.
“I am grateful for Rep. Binienda and Sen. Moore’s help in passing this bill, which will allow the 85 families in the Cedar Meadow Lake Watershed District some relief in terms of their payments,” said Johnston.
Under the bill, the payments must be paid over 40 years instead of the statutorily required 20 years.
“I hope this will lend these families and property owners some peace of mind going forward, and I commend Mr. Johnston and other district members for their legwork on this issue,” added Binienda. “The affected parties will be rightfully compensated, but this will give these families some necessary breathing room.”
Moore added, "I applaud Dick Johnson and the members of the Cedar Meadow Lake Water District for providing local families with the flexibility and discretion they need in meeting this financial obligation. Particularly now, with budgets being stretched even thinner, this will give families some long-term control.”