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Select board continues work on municipal water/sewage projects

08/30/2007

By Lisa Loomis

In the coming months, Waitsfield voters will be asked to approve a bond vote authorizing the town to borrow/bond for approximately $11,000,000 for a municipal wastewater and water system.

The vote will take place either in November or next spring. The project includes installing sewage mains in Irasville and running those pipes to the Munn field south of Waitsfield where a treatment plant will be built. The plant has been designed to handle almost 90,000 gallons per day.

The water system involves piping water from a well on the Reed Road to a reservoir via a pipeline and from there, running it into Waitsfield Village and Irasville via another system of piping.

SYSTEM PIPES

The project has been in the planning and engineering stages for almost 10 years and the water portion is slated to begin next year with the septic system pipes going in concurrently with a sidewalk project in Waitsfield.

This week, the Waitsfield Select Board, at its regular August 27 meeting, met with John Kiernan, project manager from Phelps Engineering. Kiernan updated the board on contract language and also discussed the possibility of requiring future users of the water system to pay a deposit to guaranty their access to the system.

Other towns, including Montpelier, have required that users sign up and pay a deposit before municipal water systems are built to ensure that there is a revenue stream once a system is built and to make sure that users secure their access to the water supply.


NOT REQUIRED

Town administrator Valerie Capels explained that initially the town expected such pre-payment to be a condition of one of the loans/grants the town is receiving from the Rural Development Agency for this project, but later learned that it was not required.

"The idea started with Rural Development. They wanted to see a financial commitment from the users in the form of a deposit so that the funders and the town had assurance that there'd be people using the system. People would be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit that would come off their total connection fee," Capels said.

She said the town may still opt for deposits, but said they are likely to be in the neighborhood of $1,000 to $2,500 rather than the $5,000 that was suggested at first.

Capels said that the board was now working out when the time is right to hold the vote. She noted that at a public hearing in June, there was strong support for the town to bond for the entire amount needed for the water and sewage system and said the board could do that and still build the project in stages.

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