By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — The Board of Mayor and Burgesses on March 2 approved a new ordinance that gives officials the power to extend water lines and divvy up the cost among property owners.
Under the ordinance, the cost of extending a water line in residential areas will be divided among property owners based on the number lots capable of being served by the water main and abutting it.
In industrial and commercial zones, the cost will be divided among each property owner abutting the main on a case-by-case basis based on a front footage or “other equitable basis,” the ordinance states.
Property owners have the option to pay their share over 20 years with an annual interest rate that will be set by officials. There is no prepayment penalty.
The borough will notify property owners and hold a hearing before any work is done.
Borough Attorney Ned Fitzpatrick said the ordinance gives officials the power to extend water lines and sets up the mechanism for the borough to be reimbursed for the cost.
“The underlying sense of the cost is that all costs to the borough should be reimbursed by the affected and improved property owners. This ordinance provides the mechanism for that,” Fitzpatrick said. “It provides for a public hearing once it’s determined what the proposed extension would include.”
The borough already has an ordinance that covers extending sewer mains and lines.
The new ordinance comes as officials continue to work with Connecticut Water and residents of Crestwood Drive to extend a water main 3,340 linear feet to the area. Homes in the area are served by well water.
Some residents of Crestwood Drive have been experiencing water quality and quantity issues.
“There were quite a few people who were in dire need of city water and there were people who didn’t need it at all,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.
Diane McManus, who has lived on Crestwood Drive for 37 years, questioned during a hearing March 2 on the ordinance whether she would still pay for the extension, even if she didn’t want to connect to the water main.
“I understand that what you’re doing is great for people who want the water but I’m concerned for me myself. I’m a single mom. I have two granddaughters, so they’re with me, so I’m a family of five now,” McManus said. “I’m concerned about a water bill. I’m concerned about the cost of this.”
The cost would be spread out among all property owners, including those who don’t tie into the water, due to state mandates, Hess said. Though those who don’t connect would pay less.
The Crestwood Drive project is estimated to cost $1.1 million. The borough is expected to receive a $630,000 in state and federal grants for the project and a $200,000 contribution from Connecticut Water to offset the cost, Hess said in a later interview.
About 64 residents in the Crestwood Drive neighborhood have well water. Between 25 and 35 residents have been experiencing issues, Hess said.
With the grants, he said, it’s estimated to cost $3,750 for those who tie into the main and $1,750 for residents who don’t connect.
“We think it’s a very good arrangement for the citizens,” Hess said.
Officials expect to hold a hearing on the project in the next couple of months.
Craig Patla, vice president of service delivery at Connecticut Water, said the stars aligned for the project.
“It’s a true public-private partnership that’s got the best interest of the borough itself and of course the neighbors of the Crestwood Drive,” Patla said.
Residents will not be forced to abandon their wells, although officials recommend it because the wells will be subject to inspection and testing of their backflow prevention devices, Patla said.
If everything goes has planned, Santiago Bolanos of Connecticut Water, said the work is expected to start in August, after a hearing, and take four to five months to complete.