Water district petition receives first signatures

FORESTVILLE – Bennett State and Mixer road residents received some good news Tuesday. The village of Forestville called an informational meeting to meet with residents of the proposed Northside Water District because the petition submitted to the town of Hanover was returned with changes to satisfy the town.

Mayor Kevin Johnson explained the only major change to what was submitted to the town was the shape of the district to be only 300 feet on either side of the line.

Treasurer James White explained the town did not want the district to span all the way to the far end of deep properties so that it is not responsible if a development comes in and wants to run a waterline that far – this would make it a developer’s responsibility outside of the 300 feet.

This made a noticeable change to the look of the district map, but not much else.

Attorney Michael Sullivan explained the village was previously in a hurry to get this petition to the town for approval, but due to a change in funding timeline, there is time to work it out with the town.

Johnson read the long-form petition that will be submitted to the town once enough signatures have been collected to equal 50 percent of the assessed value and 50 percent of the residential property in the proposed district.

He explained the purpose of the petition is to form a water district in order to have costs associated with the emergency replacement of the line added to village water project long-term, low-interest financing and to continue water service to the town residents.

Also given was the estimated annual cost for a family – $802.80. This takes the village’s $90 per two month base rate and $4 per thousand gallons usage rate with the assumption of 180 gallons used per day. Johnson said this is the same rate village residents pay and will cover loan repayment, operation and maintenance costs and set some aside in a reserve account for emergencies.

Johnson also explained each home will receive a meter pit, from which usage will be determined. The usage at these meters can be compared to the master meter, which is also being replaced, to determine if there is a leak.

One resident was concerned with the water quality of the village’s wells.

“What are the wells tested for?” she asked.

Johnson said they are regularly checked for bacteria and have been tested for chemicals. He explained the village is working to find a solution for its high iron problem.

“For what we pay, the water should taste like it’s from a Rocky Mountain spring,” Michael Wojtkowiak said.

Other residents were concerned about other fees.

Robert Schulze asked if the town of Hanover will charge a fee for operation and maintenance.

Johnson said the village will be responsible for the maintenance of the lines and billing.

“So, it is business as usual,” Robert Press confirmed.

Schulze also asked about the $450 debt repayment bill residents paid earlier in the year. Johnson said he will ask the village board to have that put toward residents’ future bills.

Schulze and other residents were still skeptical that extra tax or fee would be put on residents.

Johnson assured them, the residents cannot be taxed by the village and that the petition was pre-approved by the town, but once it is handed in, the village has no control over what the town does.

“I just don’t trust political government anymore,” Schulze said, before being the first to sign the petition.

Nine signatures were collected at the meeting of the 27 taxed properties included in the proposed district.

Sullivan said the village intends to go house to house to get the remaining signatures. Once the petition is submitted to the town board, a public hearing must be set, before the district can be approved.

The Forestville Village Board will meet Tuesday. The Hanover Town Board will meet July 14.