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Herrings and Deferiet moving forward with water project

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DEFERIET — The Deferiet and Herrings village boards Wednesday heard that the first phase of the joint water project essentially is done.

Mickey G. Lehman, executive vice president of Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, told the boards’ members and a dozen residents in attendance that the first phase — the upgrade of two well houses in Deferiet — of the two-part project basically was completed.

“It is up and running and in good shape,” Mr. Lehman said.

Funding for phase one came in part from a state Shared Municipal Services Incentive grant of $386,400.

Phase two will entail installing a new shared water tower, running a water main between the two villages and upgrading the mains in each village. In addition, meters and fire hydrants will be installed.

Mr. Lehman said the villages are eligible for a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund hardship assistance grant of $2 million and interest-free financing of $1,204,500. They also will reapply for a $750,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service grant. Mr. Lehman said they previously had looked into the USDA grant but would have to reapply because of delays and changes in the project.

Between the two villages there are 186 water services that, by the engineer’s figures, average to a cost of $528 a unit per year to cover the capital and the operation and maintenance expenses. Mr. Lehman said that since meters will be installed, the villages may opt to charge a base payment per service plus a usage fee.

“The project is well on its way,” Mr. Lehman said. “We should be able to advertise over the winter and begin construction in the spring.”

Mr. Lehman suggested that, because there have been some miscommunications in the past while dealing with the project, a committee consisting of representatives from both village boards should be formed. The committee could meet regularly with the engineering firm to keep the project on task.

The siting of the water tower was discussed. Mr. Lehman said several locations were explored. He said any of the sites, including the former Deferiet ballfield or by the well house, were suitable and approved by the state Department of Health. Factors that would determine the final decision would include the availability of the property, soil condition and elevation. Presently there is a problem with the state redesignating the ballfield to be used for anything other than a park.

Deferiet Trustee-elect Janet M. Zando said she would rather see the tower near the well house.

Mr. Lehman said that, although the property by the well house was small, it would be large enough for the tower. But because of its elevation, the tower would have to be taller and thus cost more, he said.

Following the joint meeting, Deferiet Deputy Mayor Joseph E. Cook opened that village’s monthly board meeting. With only two of its members to remain in place next year because of the election, the board decided to table the new and old business until next month.

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