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Cape Vincent property owners OK water district expansion

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CAPE VINCENT — Property owners approved a measure to expand Water District 6 by an 80-17 vote, officials announced Tuesday after counting 63 absentee ballots.

Eleven of the 17 residents against the measure voted in person Nov. 19 at Cape Vincent Recreation Park, when the preliminary vote was 23-11 before absentee ballots were counted.

The $2.85 million project will enlarge the district to include 20 properties near the village’s western boundary. The expanded district will serve about 90 households and the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse facilities.

The project will include households now without municipal water service and those that already draw water from the village. The debt service cost will be shared by users.

The 20 outside properties joining the district on the east side of County Route 6, with water connections to the village main, would be charged the “B-rate” of $88 per equivalent dwelling unit in annual debt service and a usage charge of $3.25 per 1,000 gallons.

Properties west of Route 6, which are in the existing district, would pay the higher “A-rate” of $561 per EDU and $5.10 per 1,000 gallons usage.

According to the project engineer, A-rate users would pay an average of $840 a year, and B-rate users would average $248 per year.

To pay for the project, the town secured an $885,594 state Environmental Facilities Corp. grant and a 30-year, no-interest loan to cover the remaining costs.

Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey said Tuesday night that he was pleased a “substantial majority” voted to expand the district. Some homeowners who own well-water systems voted against the proposal because of its cost, he said, but most of the homeowners who will be connected to the system supported the project.

“The people east of County Route 6 didn’t have a home (in a water district) and the DEC wasn’t happy with that, so we decided to give them a home,” Mr. Hirschey said. “And since they already have infrastructure there, it reduced the overall cost per person. Those in the water district will also have protection from the town in terms of repairs and upgrades.”

Since February, the Town Council faced criticism for its plan to expand the district. The expansion was needed, however, to secure outside state funding for the project. The original District 6 was unable to secure outside funding because the average median income of its residents was too high.

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