Medina Journal-Register — RIDGEWAY — The Ridgeway Town Board moved to close three gaps in the town’s water service Monday, although residents opposed to the plan may force a public vote on the issue.
Ridgeway is seeking to connect portions of Angling, Bates and Ramshaw roads through a $850,000 capital project. The project would allow 31 residences and one commercial property to hook into the town’s water service and connect small areas surrounded on both sides by existing water lines.
Town Engineer Paul Chatfield, who ran attendees of a public hearing through the project, said construction work could begin as early as late fall. But the district’s creation needs to be finalized first.
The board moved Monday to establish the district through the permissive referendum process, which allows residents to bring the issue to a public vote if they file enough petitions in the next 30 days.
A handful of the district’s residents implied they may do just that after questioning the benefits of the district in a hour-long public hearing.
Roy Cook, who lives on the Angling Road portion of the district, said he disagreed with the water district project including a $125,000 connection across the Erie Canal on Bates Road in the project.
“Why is it our district that has to incur the cost,” Cook complained. “I don’t think there’s a degree of fairness because everyone benefits.”
Chatfield said that would give the town water system two connections across the canal, which would be beneficial in the event of a structure fire. Previous water district projects also included parts that provided a town-wide benefit.
“You may not like it, but the Health Department mandates ... that you take care of these potential hazards,” Chatfield explained. “We need to make sure the water system is fortified.”
The town anticipates receiving a $400,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program grant, with the remaining costs to be paid over 38 years by the owners of the 40 parcels of land within the district. Chatfield said that if the canal crossing was removed from the project, a corresponding reduction in federal aid would follow.
Chatfield said residents hooking into the district can expect to pay $1,434.59 in the first year of the project to cover the cost of water meters, plumbing, debt service and water service. He noted that the yearly debt service cost would be no more than $455.59 in future years, and likely much lower. The cost of water for an average customer would be an additional $229 after year one.
“We have to plan for the worst-case scenario,” Chatfield said, noting that residents of the other 11 water districts all pay an annual debt service below the originally quoted rate.
While only a few residents spoke in opposition to the plan, the proposed district’s small population means only the petitions of few residents are needed to force the establishment of the district to a majority vote of the district’s residents.
Town Attorney Kathy Bogan said petitions forcing a referendum would need to be in within 30 days of Monday, otherwise, the board’s resolution would go into effect.
The town board also approved resolutions for the district’s engineering and a final application for federal funding for the project.Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.