HANOVER - A special meeting of the Hanover Town Board to discuss increasing water rates Wednesday quickly turned into a discussion of expanding its water districts.
Supervisor Todd Johnson opened the meeting by explaining the proposed increases for water districts 1 and 2.
He said the increase in district 2 for in-district and out-of-district residents is due to an increase in the cost of water from the village of Silver Creek.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
Residents on Alleghany Road in the town of Hanover can see the water tower but are not in-district customers.
He further explained the reason for proposing an increase in district 1's out-of-district water rate to almost double the current rate was to differentiate the benefit of being within the water district.
Water Superintendent Harold Anger explained he had researched the rates other municipalities charge out-of-district customers and the rate in Hanover (particularly in District 1) was far below the average.
"I think it's important for us to bring the price for the out-of-district customers up to the full market value of the water they are receiving. They've received an excellent benefit over the years, for decades, and all the other water districts along the lake have paid a fair market value. ... We are trying to bring that price up to what other districts are charging," Councilman Kevin O'Connell said.
A district resident from Beebe Road spoke out at the meeting saying the increase is unfair and he has pursued becoming part of the water district in the past. He explained the out-of district customers pay service charges but do not get the service of being in the district.
Johnson said it does not make sense some of the roads, like Beebe and Alleghany which have newer waterlines, are not included in the district, as the cost to integrate would not be as great as that of other roads.
He said it has been a goal of the town to foster development in a residential sense, which expanding water districts is a big part of.
"We have people that are wanting to put up homes on Southerland and Beebe and quite honestly it's asinine that they're 4-foot away from a tap and we have to tell them they can't hook into it," he said.
Councilman Kenneth Cross said this increase will incentivize the water district expansion.
"The main thing is to increase the water district and there is only one thing that is going to do that - dollars. If we continue at the current rate it does not behoove an out-of-district customer to petition this board to expand the district. ... If we leave it the way it is, why do you want to expand it? ... That's why we're still where we were way back when," Cross said.
O'Connell said many residents from that area have contacted him on this topic.
"I'm surprised at the number of phone calls I get from people who live up on Beebe Road and Alleghany Road that can look at the water tower, they know the water lines are in the ground and they know they can't have water," he added.
Board members agreed they would like to see the district expand but said they would like to consult counsel before taking action.
Johnson said typically a petition of 51 percent or more of the residents is presented to the board before a district is created.
The board unanimously voted to increase the water rates. The new rates are as follows: district 1 out-of-district customers $0.69 per 100 gallons, district 2 in-district customers $0.85 per 100 gallons and district 2 out-of-district customers $0.95 per 100 gallons.
Johnson explained the increase will be effective immediately and will appear on the billing statements in February.
The next meeting of the town board will be Aug. 13.