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Louisville to proceed with water district

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LOUISVILLE - Following a poll of the more than 30 attendees at the town’s public hearing regarding the creation of a third water district in the town, trustees voted unanimously to proceed with the creation of the district via permissive referendum.

At the conclusion of the hearing Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault asked for a show of hands from people who would like to continue the process via permissive referendum and nearly every hand in the building was raised. When he asked if there was anyone who wanted to see a public vote, not a single hand was raised.

“This is by far the fastest way,” said Town Attorney Eric J. Gustafson. “You could begin in 30 days.”

Had the town elected to hold a public vote, he said that would delay the nearly five months of engineering and planning work that must be done prior to actually construction by an additional 60 to 75 days.

“If you go permissive referendum, short of a petition the project will begin in 30 days,” said Engineer Timothy Burley, who is designing the project for the town.

Mr. Gustafson explained in order for a public vote to be held someone must submit a petition containing signatures from 5 percent of the landowners residing within the district.

And that’s something that Mr. Legault said he doesn’t think is going to happen.

“You saw the meeting tonight, people want us to get started,” he said.

Once the engineering and design work is complete, likely sometime this fall, Mr. Burley said construction on the project, which will encompass the entire hamlet and several other outlying areas in the town, including a small portion of the town of Norfolk, will begin.

Nicole LaPradd wondered where construction will begin.

“That will be up to the contractor,” Mr. Burley said. “We don’t want to get into a neighbor versus neighbor thing.”

Town Assessor David Cassort wanted to know if people had to wait for the entire project to be completed before they received their water service.

“Absolutely not,” Mr. Burley replied.

Mr. Cassort also said he wanted to make sure the project was really going to happen this time.

“We’ve been disappointed with this once before,” he said. “Any chance of that happening again?”

According to Mr. Burley residents of the water district can be assured that this time the project will actual happen.

“This is firm, that money is obligated to you,” he said referring to a financing package from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

That funding package includes a grant for $1,367,771 and a zero interest loan for $7,907,229 to cover the $9.2 million project’s total costs. Without that grant, which was announced in January residents of the district were looking at an average cost of $695 per year, with the grant the cost is now $631 per year.

The disappointment though referred to by Mr. Cassort was the loss of stimulus funds that occurred after government officials realized they had awarded more funding than what was actually available.

Once construction does begin, Mr. Burley said by the time the entire district is completed the town could be looking at upwards of 300 days of construction, although he did note that barring extreme circumstances construction will be year-round.

“With the size of the equipment they’re using they can do that,” he said.

Estimated costs for water service will be $631 per residence and $222.50 per year for vacant parcels that are deemed buildable property. Any parcels that are currently in use as “productive agricultural land,” with no home or water service on them will be exempt from biller, per New York State Law.

The $631 fee includes a debt service charge of $441 that all residents of the district must pay, even if the opt out of having water delivered to their homes. The remainder of the $631 is based on average usage of 5,000 gallons per month.

“If you’re living by yourself or you’re a retired couple you’re not going to pay $190, you’re going to pay the minimum, Mr. Burley said, referring to the minimum water usage fee of $144 per year. That fee is based on 3,000 gallons per month.

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