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The Town of Oswegatchie seeks residents’ input on installing a public water system

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By AMANDA PURCELL

HEUVELTON – The town of Oswegatchie is asking residents whether they would support installing public water to areas within the town.

The proposed water district would encompass the town’s routes 812, 68 and 37 corridors, and includes parts of Lisbon, the village of Heuvelton, and the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority International Airport.

“The village of Heuvelton is already looking into a new water tower,” Town Supervisor Alfred J. “Bud” Nichols said Monday. “We would install our own water tower and they could use ours as a backup.”

The town is hoping to purchase water from Ogdensburg to supply the network.

“They have lots of water that could easily supply places along 812 and all the way to the village of Heuvelton,” Mr. Nichols said.

As the lead in the project, the town of Oswegatchie recently received a $25,000 grant to conduct an initial feasibility study.

The study includes a survey which asked residents questions about the quality of their well water and whether they would support forming a water district. The results of the survey were collected on June 3 are expected to be presented at the Oswegatchie town board meeting on July 14.

The project is expected to cost over $14 million. Town board members said they recognize that the project would be a sizeable undertaking, requiring state or federal funding to allow for a reasonable cost to taxpayers.

“We have been on a waiting list to receive state funding since 2008,” Mr. Nichols said. “Our number is up, and we were told we can now begin requesting funding for the project.”

The remaining cost of the project would be absorbed not through town-wide property taxes, but through water billings for those properties within the water district, according to the town.

Each resident would have to pay a yearly amount for a new water project based on currently available state and federal water funding programs.

Many new systems currently being installed have a total annual cost for repayment of debt, purchase of water and operation of the system. It is unclear how much each individual water user will pay towards the new system.

Additional detail and updated cost estimates will be presented at a public informational meeting and residents will have opportunity to vote prior to the beginning of the project, town council members said.

“It’s a big deal,” Councilman Bruce LaRose said. “I certainly support it.”

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