Medina Journal-Register — The Town Board of Ridgeway conditionally established Water District 13 at its meeting Monday night.
During a public hearing earlier in the evening, a couple residents that own property in the proposed District 13 voiced their opposition to its creation and suggested a District-wide referendum. Therefore, the town’s resolution established the district “subject to permissive referendum.”
Paul Chatfield of Chatfield Engineers discussed the process of the creation of the district from its conception to its completion. Originally, the town had hoped to do both the District 12 and 13 projects together, but was unable to do so because of funding from USDA Rural Development.
However, Ridgeway was recently notified of other projects dropping out which led to funds being freed up for District 13.
Overall, the total cost for the creation of District 13 will be approximately $800,000. It is anticipated that $410,000 will come in the form of a Rural Development grant, leaving the town to pick up the tab on the remaining $390,000, Chatfield explained.
The new district includes 41 land parcels and more than 30 homes along Bates Road, just north of Oak Orchard Creek going south to Portage Road, and along East Scott Road from Bates to Culvert Road. A total of 17,100 linear feet of 8-inch water main will be installed when the project construction begins, and Chatfield said that part of the process is the quickest.
The cost to the residents, who are the only town residents affected by the project, would include an annual debt service payment of about $450 plus the cost of water, which brings the annual water cost per resident up to just under $680 depending on water usage.
The first-year cost is higher, as it includes internal plumbing changes, installation of a water meter, and other one-time start-up fees. Those bring the first year cost of the project to between $1,400 and $1,500 before the annual cost drops down to the $450 plus water, Chatfield explained.
He added that adding water lines in District 13 includes the addition of fire hydrants, which will lead to a reduction in homeowners insurance for residents in that area.
Chatfield said those who choose to not get water will still have to pay the debt service. The opportunity will still be there for those residents to tap into the line at a later date without a tap-in fee.
Two residents spoke out against the creation of District 13. One asked why the residents could not vote on the issue. They can, but a petition must be submitted first, said Chatfield.
“If five percent of the property owners in a district petition the board, there’s a vote,” he said. “We would like to stay away from that because having a vote costs money, and the cost to create this district is reasonable when compared to other communities in Orleans County and other counties in the area.”
Town Supervisor Brian Napoli said the board was looking to move forward with the district’s creation because “people have been asking for it. One person wanted to know why we couldn’t include them in District 12.”
Any petition would need to be submitted to the town within 30 days of the public hearing. It was asked of the board what would happen if the district got voted down.
Napoli said all that would do would make future creation more expensive and possibly more difficult.
“It would be more money, and there would be a difference in the cost and the financing of the project,” Napoli said. He said when District 12 was being created someone asked to compare that district to a previously created one, and he told that person it would not make sense to do that since they were created years apart.
“Also,” he continued, “keep in mind we’re getting $410,000 for this project as a grant, not a loan, and we don’t know for sure if it will be available again.”
One resident who would be in District 13 was fully on board with the project.
“I started saving for this 10 years ago, so when do you get started?” he asked. According to information provided by the board and by Chatfield, so long as the district indeed moves forward, work would begin sometime next year or in 2015, and would not show up tax bills for district residents until 2016.
In other county news, the budget schedule was set. Ridgeway’s budget hearing is Tuesday at 7 p.m. The public hearing on the tax cap override is set for 7 p.m. on Nov. 12. It is expected that at the board’s regular meeting that the local law to override the tax cap and the budget will be passed. Napoli noted that passing the tax cap override does not mean the town will go over the tax cap.
“It’s easier to pass the law whether we go past it or not,” he said of the cap. “We’ve been advised to do this for the past three years.”
The override law is a means of protection for the town from the state should it ever change its law and enforce penalties on municipalities that did not pass overrides.