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Water project heats up Watertown Town Council meeting

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The town of Watertown will purchase city water for northeast residents instead of buying land with a well on it from Councilman Paul V. Desormo.

That news surprised Overlook Drive resident Timothy J. Monaghan so much he got into a heated argument with town Supervisor Joel R. Bartlett, who ordered him to stop or be kicked out of Thursday night’s Town Council meeting.

During the squabble, Mr. Monaghan said he was upset city water would cost residents more and argued the town wasted more than five years in the on-again, off-again negotiations with Mr. Desormo and spent about $145,000 to see if the wells could provide the water.

Nonetheless, Mr. Bartlett defended the council’s decision to go with city water, contending the town and councilman could not agree on the price for his approximately 20 acres at 20638 Weaver Road.

After negotiations failed, the town had no other recourse, he said.

“I’ve been waiting to get stinking water,” Mr. Monaghan yelled, with the argument getting louder as the men’s remarks to each other became more enraged with each rejoinder.

“You are out of order,” Mr. Bartlett shot back.

“I’m looking for answers after four years,” Mr. Monaghan hollered.

The town supervisor told him he was just trying to bring water to as many residents as he could, admitting “some mistakes were made” and “you could put them on my shoulders.”

They argued for a few more minutes until Mr. Bartlett told him to be quiet and sit down. When Mr. Monaghan did not, the supervisor threatened “to call someone” to have him removed from the Town Hall.

Eventually, Mr. Monaghan left the meeting and the council went on with the rest of the meeting’s agenda.

City Water Superintendent Michael J. Sligar said in March the city would be more than happy to provide water for the project.

The city already provides water to some town residents.

Before the shouting match, council members chose an option that would cost about $1,848,000 to add lines to parts of Overlook Drive and Hadcock Road but not the motels and other businesses along Route 12.

The project would consist of 8-inch water lines along State Street and 4-inch lines in the other sections of the proposed northeast water district.

Under the plan, water users would pay about $437 annually for the water and another $279 for the project, said Ryan G. Churchill, an engineer with GYMO Architecture, Engineering and Land Surveying, Watertown.

Totals for the other three options ranged from $1.9 million to $2.6 million, depending on the roads that would be included and the lines’ size.

The water district can proceed only if 51 percent of affected property owners sign a petition supporting it.

Last month, Mr. Desormo said he had no idea the town was looking at city water until he saw a report on his desk the night of the Town Council meeting March 14.

The information was part of a progress report about the northeast water project given to council members that night, Mr. Desormo said.

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