By Lisa Loomis
Waitsfield Village residents and property owners can sign up now to hook into the town's proposed municipal water system for half of what it will cost later.
Potential water system users who sign up and pay a 'commitment' fee by January 15, 2008, will pay $1,000 per ERU (equivalent residential unit -- a state term roughly equivalent to the water used by a three-bedroom house). Those who sign up and pay the 'commitment' fee between January 15 and the March 2008 bond vote will pay $1,500 per ERU and those who commit after the bond vote and until construction will pay $2,000 per ERU.
These fees are one-time connection fees and users will be assessed annual charges based on several other factors. Those factors include a connected user base fee (figured on the number of ERUs per user), a use fee for the number of gallons used (engineers estimate this at $550 to $750 per ERU per year), a fire protection assessment (estimated about $75 per $100,000 of assessed value), and hydrant and sprinkler charges.
These options will be spelled out for all village residents and property owners in a packet of information that will be mailed out next week. Additionally, the town will be creating pamphlets for potential customers which will be mailed and distributed with The Valley Reporter.
The proposed water system will be voted on at Town Meeting, along with municipal wastewater system. If both pass, construction on the projects will occur during 2009 when several other projects are underway at the same time -- the creation of a sidewalk/bike lane from the elementary school to Irasville and the repaving/reconstruction of Route 100 through Waitsfield Village/Irasville by the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
The water for the municipal system will be coming from a well on the Reed Road which yields about 200 gallons a minute. The water will be piped to a 500,000 gallon holding tank near the former LeClair gravel pit off Bushnell Road. From there is will be piped down Joslin Hill Road and Bridge Street to the Village and south to Irasville.
A construction timeline for the municipal wastewater system it not yet defined. That project will be voted by bond vote next spring and the pipes installed when Route 100 is dug up for the other projects. The wastewater system will bring effluent from Waitsfield to either a treatment facility or leach field located at the Munn Field, a large field south of Waitsfield located across from The Valley Animal Hospital.
As with the water system, there will be one-time connection fees for the wastewater system. For users who commit by January 8, 2008, the cost will be $4,000 per ERU and for those who commit after that date the cost is $5,000 per ERU. A deposit of $2,000 per ERU will be required.
User fees for the wastewater system are estimated to range from $1,000 to $1,500 per ERU per year.