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After low referendum turnout, absentee ballots will decide fate of Cape Vincent water district expansion


CAPE VINCENT — Only 34 town property owners voted Tuesday night in a referendum on expanding Water District 6, producing an inconclusive result because three times as many absentee ballots have yet to be counted.

Those who turned out supported the proposal, 23-11. Approximately 100 absentee ballots, many from seasonal residents, will be opened Tuesday, said town resident Cyril C. Cullen, member of the committee that hosted the vote at the Cape Vincent Recreation Park.

“It’s too early to predict anything at this point,” he said Tuesday night.

If approved, the $2.85 million project would expand Water District 6 to include 20 properties near the village’s western boundary. The enlarged district would serve about 90 households and the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse facilities.

The project would include households now without municipal water service and those that already draw water from the village. Users would share the debt service cost.

The 20 outside properties joining the district on the east side of County Route 6, with water connections to the village main, would be charged the “B-rate” of $88 per equivalent dwelling unit in annual debt service and a usage charge of $3.25 per 1,000 gallons.

Properties situated west of Route 6, which are in the existing district, would pay the higher “A-rate” of $561 per EDU and $5.10 per 1,000 gallons usage.

According to the project engineer, A-rate users would pay an average of $840 a year, and B-rate users would average $248 per year.

To pay for the project, the town secured an $885,594 state Environmental Facilities Corp. grant and a 30-year, no-interest loan to cover the remaining costs.

Since February, the Town Council faced criticism for its plan to expand the district. The expansion is needed, however, to secure outside state funding for the project. The original District 6 was unable to secure outside funding because the average median income of its residents was too high.

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