Buffy Calvert and Staff

The Town Board held a Public Hearing on September 1st in the ACS gym to accommodate the crowd of residents both from the 139 Hamlet residents that constitute the Water District #1 (there is no District #2) and a scattering of Townies concerned about those of us in the Hamlet.

Cedarwood Engineering representatives presented their work over the past 5 years drilling and testing wells to satisfy the NYS Department of Health (DOH). They concluded that a well drilled in the New Cemetery above High Street yields the flow needed (40 gallons per minute). It also has traces of sulfur and manganese which they anticipate can be “treated” to remove the rotten egg smell and taste. This can be tested in a pilot project at an initial cost of $25,000. If it passes they recommend a second well be drilled nearby, as redundancy is strongly recommended by the DOH in the event of system failure.

The Town can apply for a NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation Water Infrastructure Improvement and Intermunicipal Grant (WHA) which would pay for 60% of the cost of $2,950,000. The balance of 40% might be covered by a loan at 3% interest from another state program to be repaid by the Water District over 30 years. If the Pilot Project fails, the Town could decline the rest of the grant and its obligation to Cedarwood.

The crowd asked many pertinent questions of the engineers and Supervisor Bud Gladstone. Many had to do with whether there was some way that the existing reservoir on Hillside Road could be continued in use as there is currently no mandate from the Board of Health to supersede it. The engineers emphasized ways in which the reservoir could in the future be imperiled and underscored the opportunity for grant money at this time. Susan Cole, who now lives out of the Hamlet, asked if the Town taxpayers couldn’t pick up some of the cost. Gladstone was reminded of a time when the Water District was having a hard time repaying loans incurred by the Village to install the well by the library. Research revealed they could not mix Town tax money with Water District funds. Cedarwood pointed out that the old loans would be repaid in a decade or so, easing the burden on the water users. The new loan is expected to raise current yearly fees to Water District households, businesses and non-profits from $490 to $896.

Judy Garrison, having expected throughout a report on the existing well behind the library, and not hearing one, asked how often that well had been used as a back-up, and what its yield was. The engineers had no answers. When also asked whether the remediation process for sulfur they planned to apply to the new well could be applied here, the answer was yes, at an estimated cost of $5,000.

Immediately after the Public Hearing, the Board voted unanimously to approve the 3 Resolutions prepared by Cedarwood:

Authorizing the acquisition, construction and installation of the water system improvements and related site work at a cost of $2,950.000.

Authorizing the issuance of serial bonds to finance the water system through DWSHP and EFC, with the understanding that if the Pilot failed, the Town could withdraw.

Authorizing Cedarwood Engineering as the firm to undertake this work.~