Creek Road residents reject water district

FORESTVILLE – Creek Road residents were on hand at an informational meeting Wednesday to express their confusion and displeasure.

Deputy Mayor Kevin Johnson explained the meeting was so that residents’ questions could be answered.

Residents first complained that there has been a lack of communication and that no residents received a letter that was supposed to go out explaining the situation and when the water to Creek Road would be shut off.

They were also upset that lines were promised and now that is not happening.

“First the village says that they are going to pay for it and then you just pull out of it. Shouldn’t there be some responsibility?” Creek Road resident Sandra Askin asked.

The March 1 deadline was also a concern with residents.

Chautauqua County Health Department Water Specialist Bill Boria said the health department did not give this date as a deadline. Clerk Jim White explained in order to go through with the financing of the project in September 2014, work including decommissioning the springs must be completed by Aug. 24, 2014.

Boria showed residents a map of the Creek Road water line with 19 residents in the town of Hanover, 10 in Sheridan and 5 in Arkwright.

He explained the village’s original intent was to supply Creek Road residents with water with the $5 million in funding it received. However, a change in engineer and multiple exploratory drills for a water source led to a lack of funding for the project estimated at $902,000.

Boria said for the 35 homes in the proposed water district – not all of which receive water but would also bear a cost – the cost would be $26,000 per resident. If this cost was put into a 30-year loan then it would be $867 per year per home for the infrastructure alone. He added the cost to only replace the lines in the town of Hanover without a pump house would be $22,000 per resident for the 19 residents.

“The water lines would have to be replaced, they are 120 years old,” Boria said.

Boria explained forming a water district opens up the opportunity for grants but the district would have to form the district first and wouldn’t know if it got grants for at least a year after applying.

“A water district has advantages, like the village maintaining the system and having treated water, but the costs are too much,” Johnson said.

When asked for a show of hands for those in favor of forming a water district, none of the nearly 20 residents raised their hand. Some of the residents had already paid to drill wells.

Concerns were expressed about the residents who cannot afford the $6,000 it costs to drill a well.

Askin suggested a member of the village board go to the local bank and see if they can pave the way for residents to get loans. Johnson said he would ask the bank.

Also a concern was the $450 for the debt repayment of the water project. Askin said the Creek Road residents should not have to pay for a project that they will not benefit from. Johnson agreed and said at the next village board meeting he will put a resolution forward. Mayor Linda Aures also agreed that if the residents did not intend to form a water district, they should not pay on the debt.

Johnson said he will also put forward sending out a letter with the new cut-off time to determine when decommissioning the springs will take place.

Bennett State Road was also mentioned. Boria explained the line of Bennett State Road was made of galvanized steel, was 60 years old and was falling apart. He said in addition to “bleeding” water from the lines, because there is no water district, every time the village fixed the line, it could not charge Bennett State Road residents. At a meeting with Hanover officials Tuesday, it was agreed that Bennett State Road would become a district.

This will have no impact on Creek Road residents, Boria explained, once the new wells are up and running, Creek Road residents up to the chlorine house will receive that water while residents down to that point will remain on spring water until it is decommissioned.

The next village board meeting is on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.