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Pomfret officials pass budget, debate water

The Pomfret Town Board passed a 2020 budget and continued its long-running discussion about Phase II of the town water project Wednesday evening.

The budget passed unanimously, without discussion. It keeps the tax rate the same for village of Fredonia residents but decreases it by two cents per $1,000 of assessed property for residents who live outside the village of Fredonia.

The water line installation project is a muddier matter.

“We really haven’t proceeded to do anything else on it,” outgoing Town Supervisor Don Steger said at the start of the discussion. He mentioned that Clark Patterson Lee, architects used by the town on its years-long project, have to do a map plan and report but haven’t started any work “because we have no basis to offer it yet.”

“We had talked about Farel Road to get rid of some of our dead-end issues and flushing issues,” said town board member Ann Eckman. She said Phase II should start in places where those issues are the largest. “I’m trying to think about dead-ends because we spend a lot of money flushing,” she said.

Highway Superintendent Jude Gardner said the most problematic area on that front was “Berry Road, for sure.” Eckman asked if it would help to loop that road’s water system to a new line on Farel Road, and Gardner said it would.

“We’ve requested twice that the village of Fredonia do an interconnect (with Pomfret’s water system) and haven’t gotten a definitive response yet,” commented Steger.

“We have sat dormant for two years now, waiting for this project to move forward,” said town board member Brett Christy. “Wendel (Engineering, another firm doing work on the project) has provided four different options.”

Christy advocated immediately moving forward on one of the options, with some changes in the Webster Road area.

“Keep building those loops. Keep building the well-executed water system I think is important to this town,” he said. Noting the process is stagnating due to a lack of funding, he suggested funding can’t come until firmer plans are in place. “Let’s do something different. We’ve got to do something,” he said.

Steger directed board members to work on their own, and together, prior to next month’s board meeting to get “a solid list of potential areas for improvement.” He suggested that the list could be submitted to Clark Patterson Lee so the firm could further refine it.

‘We don’t even have to fine tune our recommendations,” he said. “(Do it) Option 1, Option 2, Option 3 and send it that way.”

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