Waitsfield's municipal water project will go out to bid next month and the select board has hired a project manager and revised how connections to the system will be constructed.
The $7.6 million project will supply water to Waitsfield Village and Irasville as well as Tremblay Road and Old County Road. The project has been in the works for over a decade and comes to fruition after three votes. The $7.6 million project will be paid for by $4.5 million in federal grants, connection fees, and a $3.014 million loan.
The select board, at its last meeting on June 28, changed the construction protocol for the project in terms of whether each property in the service district will be stubbed into the pipeline.
Waitsfield's municipal water supply and fire protection project continues to move forward and is slated to be advertised for construction in early August. Construction could begin in September of this year. Changes occurred last month that will affect the cost for property owners who do not choose to connect to the system before construction begins and the Town will again be reaching out to potential customers to provide information about these changes.
According to town administrator Valerie Capels, "One major change is the select board's approval at its June 28 meeting to include the installation of curb stops, or stubs, from the water main to the right-of-way for every property or connection point adjacent to the Route 100/Main Street within the service area, regardless of whether the property owner decides to connect to the system."
Town officials were originally told by Rural Development (one of the loan providers) that "stubs to nowhere" would not be an eligible project cost. The town then reached an agreement with Rural Development that not including the stubs would be short-sighted and potentially cost-prohibitive for property owners to install them after the new sidewalk and Route 100 paving project are completed. This change applies in the service area, which is comprised of Waitsfield Village and Irasville. Owners who sign up after construction begins will have to pay their share of this cost through an increased connection fee.
The town is also continuing to offer the discounted connection fee of $500 per equivalent residential unit (ERU/approximately a two to three bedroom house) until September 30, 2010. The cost per ERU will remain $2,000 outside the service area after September 30, but will increase to $3,000 in the Waitsfield Village and Irasville service area. This includes the costs of connection, curb stop, and meter. Property owners will continue to be responsible for the cost of bringing the water line from the curb stop to their building.
Another new incentive is the fact that changes to the state water supply and wastewater rules in 2007 also apply to individual properties connecting to a new municipal water system, which means each connecting property will require a State Water Supply and Wastewater Permit. "Waitsfield's water system is the first new municipal water system to be built since the rules were adopted," said project engineer John Kiernan of Phelps Engineering.
Town and State officials and the funding agencies reached agreement to allow the submission of a single permit application that will encompass all the connected customers, inside and outside of the service area, as part of the total project cost and meet state permitting requirements. The town as the applicant is exempt from state fees.
"This is a big benefit to property owners who connect now," said Darryl Forrest, chair of the Water Implementation Task Force, a five-member volunteer body appointed by the select board to help move the water project forward.
"It represents a savings of at least $750 to customers who sign up before September 30. Those that connect later will be responsible for the application and fee, as well as for hiring a qualified engineer to design the connection, complete the certifications, and file the paperwork," Forrest said.