Permitting to extend Waitsfield's municipal water system to Eagles Resort was completed mid-November and by the beginning of the next week, contractor Don Weston had his equipment staged to begin the project.
The project entails extending the water main from the corner of Fiddler's Green and Route 100, south along the east side of Route 100 until it is directly across from Eagles Resort's driveway. Contractors have already bored under the Mill Brook for the pipes to reach the Eagles' driveway where the municipal water will be tied into the Eagles Resort's pre-existing distribution system.
The cost of the Weston contract is $138,000 with another $62,000 spent on permitting and engineering. Connection and user fees from the Eagles will cover the debt service on that loan and possibly more – including reducing costs for all users of the system. Waitsfield voters approved a $200,000 bond to extend the water system to Eagles on July 30 by a vote of 427-89.
Last February the town learned that the wells at Eagles Resort were not producing enough water to support the facility and the town began working with the resort to find a way to extend the water project. By June the town had been able to work with the USDA to secure a town loan for $200,000 to undertake the project.
The town estimates that the annual fees from Eagles Resort will more than cover the repayment of the loan. Eagles has 16 two-bedroom homes and a clubhouse and will represent 17 more Equivalent Residential Units (ERUs) bringing the total ERUs for the town's water system to 232.28.
The new ERUs are expected to reduce rates for existing system users by 2.5 to 5 percent. Currently the quarterly ERU rate for users is $210. Extending the system also allows the town to extend fire protection, via fire hydrants, that much further south.
Eagles sells approximately 20,000 room nights per year and the bulk of those room nights are from Thanksgiving through May – hence the urgency to get the project permitted and constructed.