Louisville plans vote on uncertain water district

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LOUISVILLE — The town of Louisville is moving ahead with plans for the formation of Water District No. 4, even if it doesn’t happen.

Kevin P. Feuka from Capital consultants Inc., P.C. (C2AE) said, because the median income is too high for residents in the proposed district, they’re not eligible for the same type of funding that was available to those in the other three water districts.

“The unfortunate situation with this project is because the median household income has risen over the years, that’s the basis that these agencies determine how much grant they’ll give you and what they can do for you in terms of concessions to help lower the price,” he said during Wednesday’s public hearing on the proposed district.

He said the median household income was $55,000, while it was lower for the other districts.

“In the other districts we were able to provide connections right into the house, into the existing plumbing system, that were all funded through the project. They will not let that happen this time,” Mr. Feuka said.

Residents of the proposed district have said during previous meetings that they could support the project if the cost was lowered to $800 a year. But, he said, it’s not there yet.

“This isn’t like the other districts. We’re telling you right now the funding that was given to the project isn’t enough to bring it down to an affordable level. That’s why the Town Board went two meetings to ask people, ‘If we could get more money that brings it down to what we’re proposing here, would you support it?’ That’s where the voters were saying, ‘Yes, if you can get the cost down further,’ Mr. Feuka said.

A vote on the project will be held in March, but even if the formation of the water district is approved, it might not happen.

“The project will only go forward if the town gets another grant for $1.6 million to bring the cost down to this level. Even if the district is approved by a vote on the condition that the town never gets any more money to bring it down to this level, it’s not going to happen,” he said.

The cost of the project is a maximum of $5.8 million. A portion of the cost will be paid for using a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant program, and a $2.4 million loan from a USDA Rural Development loan. The USDA loan is at a rate of 2.75 percent for 38 years.

If the project moved forward, Water District No. 4 residents would pay about $155 a year for water usage.

“That’s just under $40 every three months. Different people use different amounts of water. We looked at what all Water District 1 and 2 have used. The majority of the people didn’t use but about 110 to 115 gallons per day on average,” Mr. Feuka said.

The local law, however, says residents must pay for a minimum amount each quarter.

“That’s what this is, because people are using less than that amount. So they’re charged the minimum amount to keep the system running,” he said.

The project would use connections from Water District No. 3 that have already been established.

“This project does not have a tank. It does not have a booster station pump. It does not require any upgrades to your intake or water treatment facility. So it’s basically just a water main with hydrants and valves, 8-inch throughout the corridor. We’re making two connections from the end of Water District 3. Then we’re coming down County Route 36 to Chase Mills, crossing the river, going up County Route 14, the main road, and then connecting on (Route) 37,” Mr. Feuka said.

He said there was a possibility that some town of Waddington residents might also want to connect to the district.

“Because they’re in a different town, they cannot be in your district. They would either have to form their own district or do what you’ve done on some of the other projects — they would be considered an outside user. They would pay the same price that you would pay,” he said.

Each property owner who lives in the district would be entitled to one vote in March, no matter how many parcels of land they might have, town attorney Eric Gustafson said. Renters would not be eligible to vote.

“You don’t get to vote for each property. The vote is for the district. Each person who lives in the district or has a business in the district can vote,” he said.

Owners who are not in Louisville at the time of the vote can still vote by absentee ballot, he said.

If approved by voters, the town would apply for a Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grant in July to bring the cost down, and would know in December if they had received the award. If the project moved forward, construction would be completed in fall 2023.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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