Water District ExtensionsLansing Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne and Town Engineer David Herrick held an informational hearing on two proposed water district extensions Wednesday

Lansing Town Engineer David Herrick and Supervisor Ed LaVigne held informational meetings Wednesday for landowners within two proposed Consolidated Water District (CWD) extensions.  Residents within the proposed districts were invited to the Lansing town hall for a brief presentation and to have questions answered.

"The reason we have this public information meeting tonight is so everyone has enough time to look at this and see what your choices are," LaVigne said.  "You decide, and if the answer is no, it's fine by me.  There's no wrong answer, but you decide."

The $2,220,000 Water District Extension #3 would include a portion of Auburn Road, plus Bower and Wilson Roads, and much of the central portion of Buck Road, plus Conlon Road south of Buck Road.  The $640,000 Water District Extension #4 would include properties along Drake Road.  All water district properties are required to pay for the infrastructure whether they hook up to municipal water or not.

Herrick calculated that the annual debt payment for Extension #3 would be $944 per Equivalent Dwelling unit (EDU).  Drake Road landowners would pay about $797.  On top of that landowners who choose to hook up would pay a minimum of $54.50 per quarter for water usage.  They would also pay one-time connection, inspection, and hookup fees that equal around $800, as well as about $30 per linear foot of a service line that hooks up a home to the water main.  Herrick estimated the service line would cost $4,500 for a 150 foot service line, but noted this would vary depending how far from the road a home is.  A 15 foot service line would cost only $450.

cwd3 300Water District Extension #3 cwd4 300Water District Extension #4
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If the districts go forward some money will be saved by having the Lansing Highway Department do the construction.  Herrick said the cost to a typical property would be $1,162 in Extension #3, and $1,016 for Extension #4 during the 38 year loan payback period.  Herrick explained that if landowners subdivide and new properties are developed, the cost to existing property-owners will be reduced as the new properties take on their share of the debt cost.

Herrick noted that property-owners with wells may keep them for irrigation, washing vehicles, and so on as long as the plumbing is kept separate from the municipal water system.  He also said that water pressure will be adjustable for homes that have plumbing intended for the lower pressures that wells typically use.

"With each connection there is a pressure regulating valve that will be included with the plumbing, so even though the pressures in the Town's main run between 70 psi and 100 psi you can actually regulate the pressure that goes into your home with this individual pressure regulating valve.  You can set it to whatever you would like.  If you're used to having low pressure you can make those adjustments, or you can run with the pressure that the Town delivers."

One Drake Road homeowner was very unhappy, blaming LaVigne for forcing less wealthy people from their homes by imposing an additional annual charge that could be about $1,000 per year on people who can't afford it. 

But LaVigne said that 75% of landowners had signed a petition saying they wanted municipal water, and that is what triggered the engineering study.  He offered to show the homeowner a copy of the petition.

"You don't care about the low class," he charged.  "All you worry about is (rich) people along there.  You're forcing people out of here.  Our taxes are outrageous already.  Now you want us to pay seven hundred and some dollars a year more?  That's bulls---."

He poured abuse on LaVigne, talking over LaVigne and other speakers.  But LaVigne said that when he went door to door to get signatures to run for Supervisor people asked when they could get municipal water, and the people affected get to vote on whether or not they will get water.

"It's the district that decides," LaVigne explained.  "It's not Ed LaVigne that decides.  I have no skin in this game -- I have water.  This is not about me.  This is about what you decide for this district.  There is a democratic process we go through."

Town Attorney Guy Krogh explained that anyone who wants to halt the process can petition for a referendum if 5% or eligible voters ask for it.  The petition may be submitted within 30 days of the Town Board voting to go forward with the project.  That vote is expected for the Drake Road water extension at the August 16th Town Board meeting, following a public hearing at the same meeting.  If a referendum is held 51% yes votes would move the project forward.  Less than that would kill it.

Another property-owner was concerned about possible damage to his fence near the shoulder of the road.  Highway Superintendent Charlie Purcell said that the Town would cover the cost of any repairs to private property they damage.

A public hearing on CWD #4 (Drake Road) that is likely to be followed by a vote by the Town Board is scheduled for the August 16th Town Board meeting.  LaVigne says that CWD #3 will be revisited and another informational meeting will be held in September.  herrick said it is possible that construction on CWD #4 could begin in the Spring of next year at the earliest.