Water petition not ready

FORESTVILLE – The petition to form the Northside Water District was not completed for water customers’ signatures Thursday.

Forestville village officials had hoped the engineer from Clark Patterson Lee would attend with the maps needed to complete the petition; however this did not occur.

Village Attorney Michael Sullivan read what was available of the petition to Bennett State and Mixer road residents.

The petition stated that 51 percent of the total $2,392,700 is required to form the district.

Sullivan said it is the village’s intention to bill the proposed Northside Water District customers the same as village customers at a rate of $150 for the first 25,000 gallons and $3 for each additional 1,000 gallons every six months.

The debt the district would pay would be 5 percent – equating to $200,000, the cost of the water line – of the 0 percent interest 30-year loan.

Residents took issue with some of the wording they asked for at the Jan. 29 water district meeting that was omitted from the petition.

Resident Ashley Battaglia asked if the petition says the village will provide operations and maintenance.

Sullivan said that would not be in the petition and is part of the intermunicipal agreement the village will negotiate with the town after a petition is presented.

“So you don’t have the final numbers. What if the town has crazy charges? You are asking us to sign this blindly, which is what we were opposed to at the last meeting,” Battaglia said.

Battaglia also asked about language for a cost cap.

Sullivan said there must have been some confusion at the last meeting of what legally could be included in the petition.

Several residents, who do not have water hookups to the line asked if they would be charged if a district was formed. They were told several factors come into play, including a benefit formula the Hanover Town Board must work out and the debt repayment.

Hanover officials also attended the meeting and affirmed their dedication to making sure residents have water at an affordable price.

“Like Mr. Sullivan has said, the cart was put before the horse here. But I am here to reassure everybody in the room that we want a smooth, easy and affordable transition with everybody having water,” Supervisor Todd Johnson said.

Johnson also noted the March 14 deadline to have the district formed seems unreasonable because even if the town receives the petition for its meeting Monday, it still has to wait 10 days to have the public hearing.

Battaglia asked if the district misses the deadline if the village is still willing to charge district residents the same.

Deputy Mayor Kevin Johnson said he is dedicated to seeing this process through.

Battaglia also asked about being grandfathered into the village’s water project. She asked this at the last meeting but wanted to know if this could do anything to extend the deadline.

Deputy Mayor Kevin Johnson said he would look into it.

He said as soon as the engineer gives the village the maps, village officials will go door to door to see if residents would like to sign the petition.

The Hanover Town Board meets Monday. The Forestville Village Board meets Tuesday.

Comments on this story may be sent to ngugino@observertoday.com