Forestville board sets water rates

FORESTVILLE – The Forestville Village Board set water rates and pushed forward toward a water district petition for Bennett State and Mixer road residents at its meeting Tuesday.

The board previously met with proposed Northside Water District customers, who asked to know the costs of forming a district before signing a petition to do so.

The board set village water rates at $150 for the first 25,000 gallons and $3 for each additional 1,000 gallons to be billed in April for the six-month billing period of October 2013 to March 2014.

Mayor Linda Aures asked if there is any difference in the water rate for nonprofits like churches or for businesses.

“No exceptions were made in the rates so everyone will be billed the same,” Deputy Mayor and head of the water committee Kevin Johnson said.

The board also decided to have the water system debt repayment bill payable “ad valorem,” or by assessment, instead of by property frontage.

Johnson noted nonprofits will not repay the debt because they are tax exempt.

Johnson said the debt for the Bennett State Road waterline equals approximately 5 percent of the village’s water system project debt if it is able to be included, so that would be a fair amount to charge proposed Northside water district residents for the debt repayment. The board approved this amount with the town of Hanover collecting the funds and paying annually.

The board decided to present the petition for the water district with the option that the village provide the billing, operations and maintenance at the same rate village residents pay. The other option was to have the town provide those services with the possibility of a slightly higher rate being passed to customers. The village decided against this but Attorney Michael Sullivan said it could be revisited if the town did not want the village to provide the services.

The board also made a commitment to charging all customers equally.

The village hopes to have the water district formed in time to have the $150,000 debt from the emergency installation of a new line on Bennett State Road rolled into the bigger village waterline replacement project, for which the village has secured a 30-year zero percent interest loan.

“There is a benefit to get this done soon,” Johnson said. “There is a benefit to getting this rolled in with us. We need to get this done.”

Clerk James White said he had spoken with Municipal Solutions, financial consultants for the project, and they said the district must be formed by March 15 in order for this to happen. If the $150,000 is not rolled into the 30-year loan, other options include short-term financing for the water district, or if a water district is not formed, residents will no longer be able to receive water from the village and the village will be left with the debt.

“We need to get this done. We need to get this petition to the town before their next meeting and then what happens after that happens,” Johnson said.

The board set a meeting with proposed water district customers for Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the village hall. The petition will be available for review and signing at the meeting and will be presented to the Hanover Town Board before its meeting on Feb. 24. Letters will be sent to residents informing them of the meeting.

The village board will meet again on Feb. 25.