CHAMPLAIN — The Champlain Town Council is nearer to creating a new water district that would serve a section of Route 11 and environs, along with East Service Road and West Service Roads.
Wednesday is the last day a petition with signatures from 5 percent of district residents can be turned in that would force a public referendum on the measure, otherwise it will go to the council for approval.
“We felt there is a great need for this,” Town Supervisor Larry Barcomb said.
“We’ve had people call here, and they want to come to Champlain for industry or a commercial venture or whatever, and one of the first things they ask is if we have water.”
The town has surveyed property owners there, too, and found many favor water and wastewater service. Now, wells and individual septic systems serve homes and businesses there.
The project cost is estimated at $13,420,000, with, according to recent figures, the town paying 75 percent and the Village of Champlain contributing 25 percent.
Estimated yearly cost per equivalent dwelling unit (water usage for a single-family home) is estimated at $816, said Matt Cooper, a principal with Bernier & Carr Associates, designer of the project.
That would include debt service, he said.
All property owners in the district would be required to pay debt service whether they hook up or not, he noted, with parcels not using water assessed as a half-dwelling unit each, according to early calculations.
The town could adjust that figure, though, Cooper said.
A funding package includes $415,000 for a waste-water system that came as part of state awards to the North Country Regional Economic Council announced last week, along with an application for $2 million in Drinking Water State Revolving Fund monies.
The town is also anticipating the approval of a 30-year, zero-interest loan, the Barcomb said.
Final user fees would depend on just how much the town and village are able to win from other sources, as well, Cooper said.
The municipalities have for a long time been working together to plan and win funding for the water district, and that cooperation helped the project to score high under Revolving Fund parameters, he said.
“Their score is very competitive,” he said.
Presently, the village sells water to the town for its existing districts. Its three wells would also supply District 6, Cooper said.
Two new water towers would be erected as part of the project, Barcomb said.
One would be on West Service Road, he said, and the other close to the current water tower on Prospect Street in the village.
Unlike that storage tank, which is part of the Village of Champlain’s water system, the new ones would be elevated and more appropriately sized for the new district, Barcomb said.
One aim of the work is to increase water pressure, a longtime issue among village and town users, and the new towers would help that happen.
Cost for those storage tanks would be $2,139,000.
A hardness-removal system priced at $1,650,000 is intended to improve water quality, as well.
The 75-25 split between town and village represents a compromise that Village Mayor Greg Martin says makes sense.
“The village is going to provide the water for the whole project,” he said.
Also, he continued, the town will see the most economic benefit, “in terms of opening up new areas for development. On the East, West Service roads, a number of companies wanted water for a long time, and wastewater, too.
“The new medical center (planned on Route 11) — that’s going to require water and wastewater supplied by the village.”
And in exchange for the improvements that would directly affect the village, including the storage towers, the town would receive the water at a more economical rate, Cooper said.
The village would benefit from the increased water pressure, Martin said — some users have had to install pressure pumps because the village system just doesn’t produce enough.
And the proposed treatment system would much improve taste, an issue with village water since its facility was installed.
The village is still paying for its water plant, the mayor said — whatever debt there is would continue to be shouldered by the municipality, not shared by the town.
HOPE FOR SEWER
The town, Cooper said, aims to eventually consolidate all of its water districts into one, merging existing debt from each so all in the combined district would bear that cost.
Those who live outside those areas would have no responsibility toward that expense.
“It should decrease the costs in all existing districts,” he said.
The town also wants to move ahead with a wastewater district that would largely follow the boundaries of the proposed Water District 6, Cooper said.
But there is no grant program at present that would defray the cost enough to make it feasible, he said.
Barcomb is hoping construction of the water project could begin late next year, if all the funding falls into place.
An inter-municipal agreement would hammer out all the details of town and village responsibility, Cooper said.
“There will be some wrangling, I suppose,” Martin said, “but it will work out in the end to the benefit for both parties.”
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CHAMPLAIN DISTRICT 6
The proposed water district would follow Route 11 from the east side of Interstate 87 to about the Village of Rouses Point line, with service to short stretches of intersecting roads, including Route 9, Mason and Hayford roads to the south, along with Rapids Road and Leggett Road east of Mason Road.
It would also run along most of Prospect Street between Rouses Point and the Village of Champlain. And Dubois Road and East Service and West Service roads.