Arkville Water District upgrade to be focus of Dec. 1 public meeting

Staff report
A second public informational meeting to review changes to a proposed upgrade plan for the Arkville Water District is set for Monday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Middletown Town Hall.
Based on input received at the initial public meeting on October 16, the loan portion of the project has been reduced by $128,000. This amount was originally projected to be $875,175 and is now estimated to be $747,175.
The $1.1 million balance of the project would be funded with grants from USDA Rural Development ($500,000) and the Governor’s Office for Small Cities ($600,000). Rural Development would also provide the loan funds.
If the board votes to pursue the project, construction is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2010 and would be largely completed by the end of that year.
The proposed upgrade would include creating a backup water supply (new well); replacing an older, deteriorating water distribution main (in the Route 28 area); and eliminating two dead-ends in the distribution system. New water meters will also be installed.
District Water Superintendent Terry Johnson said he back-up source is needed in the event of contamination or other difficulties with the water source.
He noted that, if there were an emergency right now, the system does not have a backup source to use to maintain uninterrupted service. He also explained that replacing deteriorating mains will improve water quality at the tap and eliminate frequent water main repairs. Eliminating dead ends will improve water quality by having continual flow through the distribution system.
At the October public meeting, about a dozen residents of the Arkville Water District turned out to hear a presentation on the original proposal.
No one in attendance questioned the need for the water system repairs, but a number of residents expressed concerns over the impact on their tax bills. Residents of the Arkville Water District currently pay a district tax annually, plus quarterly water bills based on usage. Officials will explain the potential impact on water taxes and water rents.
Even if the board does not vote to proceed with the upgrade project, the town is discussing raising quarterly usage fees. The minimum fee of $23, based on utilizing less than 12,000 gallons, has not been raised in 23 years.
The Town of Middletown plans to send a letter to all district residents announcing the December 1 meeting and outlining the changes made to the loan proposal.