No one said creating a part-town water district in the town of Pomfret was going to be easy.
Discussion between town of Pomfret officials and the village of Fredonia board continued Monday during the board’s workshop regarding the towns inquiry into what the village could charge under a bulk water rate for town residents outside the village.
Currently the village charges two times the village rate ($4.50 per thousand gallons of water which includes the $.25 increase) for residents and three times the rate ($6.75 per thousand gallons of water) for businesses.
Councilmen Rod Pennica and Chuck Civiletto, and Highway Superintendent Jim Oakes informed the board that the current rates would not make the project feasible according to the town engineers.
According to town officials anything at or above $4 per thousand would be too high, considering town residents will essentially be paying for the infrastructure of the project over the next 20 years.
Because the board just recently raised the water rate during this past budget season, trustee Gary Damico found the board in a tough spot to consider lowering the rate for town of Pomfret residents.
“If we eliminate the three times the rate, and kept it at two times the rate we know we can supply at the current cost we’re at. The last thing we want to do is sell for less and then when this happens turn around and tell the village residents we have to raise the rates because it’s costing us more to supply Pomfret now,” Damico said. “I would be all for that if we had a plan in place with the reservoir. We’ve been told time and time again we need to do something with the reservoir, so instead of doing that we’re going to sell more water? It’s irresponsible on our part to do that.”
Pennica questioned that there may be benefits to the village, if not during phase I of the project, eventually as the project continues.
“Isn’t there a value of having additional users helping the village pay for what is being done here? That has to be considered,” he said.
Another benefit that the village is well aware of is that fact they would finally have control over some private lines within the town.
“Usually when your within a district and people don’t pay their water bill it gets put onto their taxes at the end of the year. The village is not a taxing entity of the Laona district because there is no district so if these people don’t pay their water bills they have no way to put it on their taxes,” Oakes explained. “With us creating a district, if they don’t pay their taxes, we just throw it onto their taxes at the end of the year. Because they’re working off the Fredonia transmission line there is no infrastructure that is involved. It’s all private lines.”
According to Oakes there are roughly 200 homes on the outskirts of the village which fall into this category, including homes along Route 20 and Route 60.
The primary concern then shuffled to what the village could possibly lose during phase I of the project, considering they will be charging town residents a reduced rate and will not see an increase in users until the infrastructure is online.
“One issue we weren’t aware of before is that when this becomes a full district all the contracts we have for the individual districts go away and we now have a certain rate set of two times the village rate. We never calculated how much we will lose if we go to a district with a smaller or lower rate then the two times the regular,” said Mayor Michael Sullivan. “The board can decide after a calculation is done that if every percent you give as a break on the bulk rate sale will cost us X number of dollars from our existing contracts. That doesn’t take into additional users and the increased revenue, but we want to know until we reach a point where those revenues are all online, that we know how much we’re going to lose each year by taking away the two and three time the rate increases.”
The board hopes to have a bulk rate for the town by their next regular meeting on July 14, as the deadline for the towns engineers to apply for infrastructure grants is Aug. 1.
In other news:
• Kurt Maytum was reinstated to the active roll of the Fredonia Fire Police Company.
• Spenser Steele was transferred to the Honor Roll of the D.R. Barker Hose Company.
• Richard Reale resigned as part-time police officer effective June 28.
• Thomas Rozumalski of Dunkirk and Thomas Cocker of Lakewood were hired as part-time police officers at an hourly rate of $12 effective immediately.
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Town of Pomfret highway superintendent Jim Oakes explains the town of Pomfret part-town water district project to village of Fredonia mayor Michael Sullivan and attorney Sam Drayo.