Pamelia water plan on City Council agenda

The town of Pamelia water tower, north of Routes 342 and 37. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Pamelia town officials should have the answer on Monday night whether they have a new agreement to get water from the city of Watertown.

The City Council is expected to take up the agreement on Monday night.

Pamelia will be paying a higher rate and will be getting more water under the agreements associated with its $17 million water project.

Twice during the past year, Pamelia officials attended City Council work sessions to discuss getting more water for its expanded water district, once last fall to initiate talks and once in February.

But then council members Lisa A. Ruggiero and Leonard G. Spaziani learned that Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith proceeded with negotiations without telling them. The move subsequently became a campaign issue during this fall’s council election.

Despite that criticism, Councilwoman Ruggiero plans to support the agreement.

“I think it makes sense,” she said. “It will certainly provide water to property owners.”

City Manager Kenneth A. Mix said the agreement calls for Pamelia to pay a 120% outside fee, rather than the 100% fee for users within the city that the town has been paying.

The city would receive a minimum of $53,786.40 per year, with Pamelia paying a guaranteed payment equal to the cost of 3,000 cubic feet of water per day, regardless of actual use, according to a memo from Mr. Mix to council members.

The city would have been paid $15,072.68 through the Development Authority of the North Country, Mr. Mix said. Pamelia has been paying $1,200 for water under the current agreement with the city.

With the new agreement, Pamelia plans to consolidate a series of water districts into one large district on that side of town.

Pamelia officials have been anticipating the agreement for a couple of years.

Contacted by phone, Pamelia Town Supervisor Scott J. Allen said he was out of town and could not talk about the agreement until next week.

The new contract will provide more water to the town for 330 additional customers, some of whom have been having troubles with their wells.

The expansion would connect to a business park that Purcell Construction has planned near the F.X. Caprara Honda dealership and snake its way through several roads off Route 37. They include Bush, Plank and Hinds roads and Route 342.

The water district also would provide water to a new Love’s travel stop that will be built just outside the city on outer Bradley Street, near Interstate 81.

But Mr. Mix said the agreement has nothing to do with the Love’s truck stop.

When Pamelia officials first approached the city about the water agreement, Mayor Smith told them that he was only interested in annexing Pamelia property because the city would not benefit from it.

He told them that Pamelia would be getting more development in the town, where developers would not have to pay city taxes and the city would lose out on economic development projects.

That was before negotiations began for the agreement, however.

Mayor Smith did not return a phone call requesting comment.

Last month, council members Spaziani and Ruggiero expressed their displeasure with the mayor about the way he handled the negotiations and did not keep them abreast of the talks.

Council members will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the third-floor council chambers in City Hall, 245 Washington St.

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