MALTA – Town Sewer and Water Committee Chairman and Town Board member Craig Warner presented the committee’s recommendation to contract the Chazen Companies for $13,500 to work on a proposal to extend water into the Maltaville area to the Town Board on Monday.
The committee began working to identify areas to extend water and sewer services in April 2016, sending out a townwide survey later in the year. After reviewing the results of the survey, the committee decided to target the Maltaville area for a water district expansion.
Maltaville was previously identified as needing water in a 2011 town study due to poor water quality and quantity. According to the Warner, the problems have worsened.
“When I was going door to door, I heard over and over that people were having their wells go dry, turning black, re-drilling and it is a huge expense. You don’t know if you’re going to hit water or not,” Warner said.
In selecting Maltaville, the committee hopes to use and expand a preexisting 2011 town study, limiting overhead costs for the project. They are also looking to utilize a $200,000 contribution from the Stewart’s Shops to bring water to that area.
The contribution from Stewart’s was made as part of a Planned Development District agreement that the company made with the town in 2014 to rezone a 2.8-acre parcel of land at the intersection of Route 67 and Luther Forest Boulevard so a shop could be built at that location.
According to Warner, the town previously made plans to expand water services to Maltaville that were ultimately rejected by residents due to cost. The committee’s new plan for Maltaville seeks to increase the density of the project, to include more properties and lower the cost for water connections.
Initial plans for the project call for water lines to be extended from the town of Stillwater at Cold Springs Road, along Joyce Road and Knapp Road in Maltaville to Route 67.
The committee received two bids from engineering firms to work on a proposal: one from Chazen for $13,500 and the other from Delaware Engineering, D.P.C. for $22,320.
According to Warner, the committee voted 6 to 1 to recommend that the board accept the bid from Chazen due the lower cost, the firm’s familiarity with the town’s water infrastructure from serving as town engineer and to keep the debt overhead for the project low given the town’s potential difficulty in seeking grants.
While both engineering firms proposed applying for grants to help fund the project, Delaware placed a greater focus on seeking grants. Warner noted that the town would have a low point standing when applying for grants due to its high average household income.
If their proposal is accepted, Chazen will be responsible for updating the town’s 2011 Maltaville study to include the larger area identified by the committee, looking at funding sources including grants and low interest loans. Once funding sources have been defined, the engineers will develop estimates for hookup costs to residents.
Town Board member Timothy Dunn commended the committee for the work they had done, but requested the board give the engineers some flexibility to examine and offer other possible options for extending water as they work on the project.
The Town Board did not take action on the committee’s recommendations during Monday’s meeting. Town Supervisor Vincent DeLucia noted that the project was still in an early stage.
“I’m personally hoping that we’re near the stage where our community is prepared to go forward with sewer and water, especially those focused areas,” DeLucia said. “It’s unfortunate that [Maltaville residents] have been suffering without water for quite some time, but obviously there is a lot of money involved putting in the infrastructure.”
Following the meeting, Warner noted that once plans to extend the water district to Maltaville have been completed, they would not be able to move forward without the interest and willingness of residents living along the path of proposed water lines to connect to the main.
While the board did not set a schedule for when to take action on the committee’s recommendations, Warner said that he would stress to DeLucia the need to move forward soon in order for engineers to file with the state and meet grant application deadlines in August.