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Village scraps proposed maintenance fee for Highland Road residents

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MASSENA — As the village prepares to install new water lines for residents of Highland and Leslie roads, city leaders on Wednesday canceled a July 18 public hearing to discuss the creation of “capital recovery and maintenance charges.”

Village trustees agreed that the new charges, and therefore the hearing, weren’t necessary.

The project, which started with a price tag of $245,000 that was reduced down to $100,000 by the board’s May meeting, now has a price tag of a little more than $60,000, with a bid for materials and supplies to be installed by the village’s Department of Public Works crew received for $60,314.65.

“I just say we do it. We have the money saved for it,” said Mayor James F. Hidy, who at one time supported the additional fees. “I would like to do it with $60,000 from the fund balance that our water system has.”

Trustee Francis J. Carvel, who has argued against the fees at previous meetings, agreed.

“I agree with that 100 percent,” he said. “With all of the projects we have done recently we have not gone out and set any new fees for any of those projects.”

Mr. Carvel said regardless of where the pipe lies, it is owned by the village and therefore the village’s responsibility.

“I’m tired of fighting over this,” he said. “It’s a village piece of property. We own it, so let’s take care of it.”

Trustee Patricia K. Wilson supported the fees, but said, with some hesitation, if not creating and collecting the fees was the direction the board wanted to go, she was fine with that.

“My concern is with the aging infrastructure the village has it could be moments before the next major infrastructure issue,” she said.

Should another problem arise, the village may not have the money available to pay for the next set of repairs.

The proposal called for Highland and Leslie Road residents to pay 85 percent of the project’s costs, with village residents paying the rest.

Residents of the affected community would have paid a total of $49.63 per year in additional fees with village residents paying an additional $7.05.

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