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Massena trustees set hearing on Highland Road water project


MASSENA — The village Board of Trustees has approved a plan to repair water lines near Highland Road.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad has prepared a plan that will replace the water pipe along Old Orchard and Leslie roads but not reloop it.

The estimated cost is $245,000, down from the previously proposed $475,000, to be split between village ratepayers and the town ratepayers who use that system.

The board will hold a public hearing on the plan at its Feb. 19 meeting, after which the board may choose to vote on it.

“I think this is a good plan. ... I think it’s a fair plan, and let’s move forward with it,” Mayor James F. Hidy said.

Under the plan, all village homeowners would be billed $8.05 per year for five years, while the homeowners who use that system will be billed $56.69 per year for five years for the replacement of the pipes. There also will be a permanent maintenance fee, which will cost village residents $3.76 per year and residents in the Highland Road area $26.49 per year.

Trustee Timothy J. Ahlfeld and Mr. Fayad had prepared a zero-to-100 percent chart for the village’s contribution to the repairs. At 100 percent village cost, the homeowners near Highland Road would be charged the same amount as homeowners in the village. At zero percent, the costs fell entirely on those homeowners near Highland Road.

The new motion passed by a 3-2 vote, with Trustees Albert C. Deshaies and Francis J. Carvel voting against it.

Mr. Carvel, who was previously the foreman for the village’s DPW, said he is against the plan because he believes the project could be done for much less than $245,000 if DPW did all the work in-house rather than hiring a contractor.

DPW could handle the project, Mr. Fayad said, but that would delay the department’s work on extending, relooping and replacing other water lines in the village. He estimated the project would take about a month to complete.

In December, trustees considered a plan that would have put the full costs of replacing and relooping the system on the ratepayers near Highland, totaling $5,000 over 10 years.

Ratepayers along that pipe on Old Orchard and Leslie roads are charged a monthly village water bill, but their homes lie nearly a mile outside the village limits. A half-century-old agreement extended the village water system to that section of the town.

Mr. Carvel and Mr. Deshaies both expressed dissatisfaction with the amount the plan charged the homeowners near Highland Road.

“The village took over ownership of those lines. The village has responsibility” to fund maintenance, Mr. Carvel said.

Residents near the pipe’s dead end began experiencing rusty water a couple of years ago. The water still was drinkable but looked bad and was problematic for laundry. In the meantime, DPW has allowed the end of the pipe to leak to prevent the homeowners from receiving rusty water. Mr. Fayad has estimated the pipe could be losing more than 200,000 gallons of water a month.

Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray, who was a vocal critic of the previous plan, has called this plan an improvement over previous alternatives.

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