HEUVELTON – The town of Oswegatchie is looking for assurance from residents before it moves ahead with its plan to install public water to areas within the town.
The town board received 163 responses-or a 31 percent response rate-as a result of its recent water district survey. The proposed water district would encompass the town’s routes 812, 68 and 37 corridors, and includes parts of Lisbon, the village of Heuvelton, and the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority International Airport.
Sixty-seven property owners or 41 percent, said “yes” to the project, 84 or 51.53 percent, said “no,” and 12 or 7.36 percent, said they were unsure.
The study is being conducted by C2AE architects based in Canton. It includes a survey which asked residents questions about the quality of their well water and whether they would support forming a water district. The results of the survey were collected on June 3.
“It would be nice to get a 50-percent response rate so we know where to drive the bus,” C2AE engineer Timothy A. Burley said at Monday’s board meeting. “At this point project appears to be 50/50 probability, as many ‘unsures’ become positive.”
Town board members said they will compile a list of parcels that did not respond and they will be sent follow up survey in order to get a more conclusive analysis.
“This is still a viable project, there is a big core of users in certain sectors,” Mr. Burley said to the board. “Nine times out of 10, they just need more information before they complete the survey.”
The project is expected to cost over $14 million. Town board members said they recognize that the project would be a sizeable undertaking, requiring state or federal funding to allow for a reasonable cost to taxpayers.
The remaining cost of the project would be absorbed not through town-wide property taxes, but through water billings for those properties within the water district, according to the town.
The town is hoping to purchase water from Ogdensburg to supply the network.
As the lead in the project, the town of Oswegatchie recently received a $25,000 grant to conduct an initial feasibility study.
The town has been waiting to receive state funding for the project since 2008.
Town board members said the results of the study could help their chances of gaining funding for the project.