LOUISVILLE — Although some Louisville residents have asked town officials to form a water district for their area, others who attended a Wednesday public hearing on the formation of Water District No. 4 were on the other side of the fence.
“Why do you want this, I guess?” one resident asked members of the Louisville Town Board.
“It just seems like all of us really don’t want it,” another resident said.
“People in the district have come to us and asked us to move forward with the district formation and put it up for a vote. I know there’s a handful of people here that don’t want it. There’s probably going to be lots more that do want it. That’s what the vote is going to tell, which way,” Town Supervisor Larry Legault said.
The Town Board had held two informational meetings to gauge interest, and Town Clerk Joanne Cameron said there was interest in the project.
“We had two meetings. There was more than 50 percent that wanted it,” she said.
“If we could bring the cost down,” added Kevin P. Feuka from Capital consultants Inc., P.C. (C2AE).
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 the project will only go forward if the town gets another grant for $1.6 million to bring the cost down to that level.
“At each of the meetings we talked about the fact the cost came in higher than the other (water) districts. But we asked for a straw poll of hands, not obligating anybody, but just to understand. It was discussed that if we could get additional grant money to bring the cost down, would people be interested. It was discussed because they reached a point where they said, ‘All right, lets see if we can get enough grant to bring it down to a number of $800 per year,’” Mr. Feuka said.
One resident at Wednesday’s meeting said that was still too much.
“It’s way cheaper to drill a well. I’m just against it because it’s way too much money for a few, 161 properties. It’s not like you’re in Massena where there’s a house every few hundred yards. It’s too much money to accommodate a few people,” he said.
“If I could see where it would make a difference, I wouldn’t be so against it. From an economic standpoint, if I was coming in the area to look to buy a house that’s already there, then you tell me to spend another $800, $1,000, $1,200 a year, that would turn me off. It’s not going to attract people,” he said.
“If that many people feel that way, then it’s not going to happen. I think that the people that wanted it in this area are only asking for the same privilege that the other three districts got. The town can’t do anything without approval. They’re only acting for the people that said, ‘Can you do for us what you did for the others?’ It has to go through the vote process,” Mr. Feuka said.
In one case, the resident said, “You want more money than the house is worth right now,” and said he was concerned that those who couldn’t pay the bill could possibly lose their home.
“That’s what’s going to happen to all these old people,” he said.
“You get to vote on it. The majority of the people want it. That’s how we did (districts), 1, 2 and 3,” Mr. Legault said.
Some of the residents were concerned that they didn’t initially know about Wednesday’s meeting.
“I didn’t even know about this meeting until somebody called me,” one said.
“I just happened to hear it on the radio this morning. Taxpayers should be given a letter in that district because my neighbors know noting about it,” another said.
“We will make sure you receive as much information as you can before the vote,” Mr. Legault said.
He said they would also schedule more informational meetings so residents could come and hear about the project and share any concerns they might have.